Why single parents should put their kids second when dating


I meet most men that I date online. What do you look for when dating a man with kids?

It's very common for guys with kids to write in their eharmony.com profiles:

“My kids come first,”


“My daughter is the center of my world!”

I get where you're coming from.

You want a potential mate to know that your life includes the giant presence of a kid or four.

You also want women to know you're a devoted dad (it's no secret chicks get hot for guys who are great with kids!).

Got it. Roger!

Related: A dad explains: “Why I don’t see my child.”

Dating with kids

When it comes to relationships, I'm fond of saying, “You never really know what goes on between people.” 

But there are a few couples in my life who I look to as models of the kind of marriage I'd like one day.

People who really enjoy each other. Respect and support one another.

In these families, the parents put their relationship before the kids. They are the dynamic centriforce around which the family's life orbits. And everyone thrives as a result.

There is lots of research to suggest that a happy marriage is the cornerstone of well-adjusted kids.

Celebrity sex therapist Laura Berman, Ph.D., writes in her relationship guide, The Book of Love:

 “No matter how sacrilegious it sounds, you need to put your relationship before your children. A strong relationship provides security for your children and demonstrates how a loving, respectful partnership should be. What could be more important?”

That's a tricky proposition for single parents. If you're not in a committed relationship, it is very easy to make your kids the prominent one in your life.

After all, they can be so demanding — not to mention fulfilling.

Plus, if you've gone through a divorce or another crisis that landed you as a single parent, you are no doubt concerned about giving your kids extra care and sense of security.

Dating with blended families

It's no surprise that so many blended families I know struggle with adjusting all parties to a home where everyone is suddenly expected to revolve around the new relationship.

It can be so hard. Some find it impossible.

But it is even trickier if one or both of the parents put the kids before their partner.

One dad I went out with nearly boasted when telling me about a four-month relationship that went sour because his girlfriend did not understand why he'd abruptly leave in the middle of dinner because his tween son would call, upset about some matter with his hockey coach.

Another's girlfriend eventually broke up with him after several years because he rarely made time to spend alone with her, instead expecting constant family time with his son.

Ultimately, failure to put their partner first was a sign these guys were not ready for a serious relationship, or at least not with those particular women, and that is totally normal.

It's not cool to pay lip service to intentions of growing a serious, long-term relationship and from the onset demote your lover to second-rank — even before you message her on eharmony.

Women are certainly guilty of putting their kids ahead of their partner — maybe even more so than men, especially since they are nearly always the primary caregiver in the event of divorce.

But in this moment when men are struggling to claim their place as equal parents while society expects divorced dads to be the lackadaisical weekend father, I get why you are compelled to go overboard with your expressed devotion.

Guys! If you are indeed ready for a real love, create a space for her.

Stop putting kids first. Imagine a relationship that centers on the two of you, and all the stability and care your kids will take from that.

Accept that a truly wonderful relationship only multiplies the love available to your kids — not robs them of some of yours.

Because in those families, there is all the more love to go around.

Related: Close the pay gap? Get dads involved? Shared visitation, no child support

Great examples of couples who put their kids second in dating 

A couple years ago, a guy I went out with, read my blog before we went out, and mulled my opinions on putting your kids behind your romantic partner.

 Over cajun food, he described what sounds like a remarkably happy suburban childhood headed by parents who enjoyed a 40-year marriage, five kids, and two successful careers.

My date has only the fondest memories of watching his dad court his mom on their weekly date nights and annual parent-only vacations — in addition to the family road-trip.

Staying home with the babysitter was tons of fun. “My dad made it clear that his relationship with my mom was the center of everything, while he was also the best dad ever,” he said.

What could be a better example of the benefits of putting your romantic partner first?

What if you don't have a romantic interest to start with?

This Modern Love column in the New York Times (which I read religiously and am only slightly bitter about the fact the editor Daniel Jones has rejected more than a dozen of my submissions over the years BUT NEVERMIND!) highlighted a 2005 essay by Aylete Waldman about the fact that she puts her husband and their fantastic sex life above their four kids.

The most interesting thing about the essay was the resulting shitstorm of controversy which landed Waldman on a much-viewed Oprah episode during which a hostile audience nearly attacked her.

Yes, that essay is a decade old, but it warrants a revisit because parents — mothers most especially — are still expected to make our children the center of our worlds, and always put kids first. Waldman wrote:

I do love [my daughter]. But I'm not in love with her. Nor with her two brothers or sister. Yes, I have four children. Four children with whom I spend a good part of every day: bathing them, combing their hair, sitting with them while they do their homework, holding them while they weep their tragic tears. But I'm not in love with any of them. I am in love with my husband.

It is his face that inspires in me paroxysms of infatuated devotion. If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. I am in fact a bad mother. I love my husband more than I love my children.

I love that Waldman challenges the institution that admonishes women for anything other than full-time adoration of their kids.

Waldman's work includes many of the points I've made here on this blog:

Many of you lapped up my essay about the fact that I don't live for my kids — and that is my biggest gift to them.

Putting kids before all else makes them neurotic and robs me of my potential to live the biggest, fullest life that I can — and model for my children that such a life is possible.

Putting kids first makes them neurotic and robs me of my potential to live the biggest, fullest life that I can — and model for my children that such a life is possible.

I've urged parents — single moms in particular — to prioritize their health above all else, including family time.

After all, you can't be an energetic mom now if you are overweight, and you are even more likely than single moms overall to burden your children in your old age if you don't care for your wellbeing now.

That despite my attempts to live said full life, I've found myself hugging my kids too much because I'm lonely — and that is entirely unfair to my son and daughter. Alas, I am only human.

I plan to read Waldman's essay collection, Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace, which promises to dig into the societal pressure moms face to put their children into the laser-sharp focus of their universes.

Liberating music to my ears! 

But Waldman has a husband she is crazy about. I don't.

Related: Why you should (probably) sell your heirloom jewelry

How does a single mom stop putting her kids first if you don't have a man to focus on instead?

In other words, how do you create space for a potential relationship when kids can be so all-consuming?

In the event you don't seek a romantic partner, where do you focus that energy if not on your children?

Cliche as it may sound: You gotta put yourself first.

That means taking care of your health. You must make it a top priority to hang out with other adults — girlfriends, dates, relatives, and friends.

It is not normal to spend all your time with children, nor make your offspring your primary emotional support.

And while you're at it, indulge in your instincts to have a fulfilling and profitable career — without any guilt whatsoever! — even though our culture tells you that stay-at-home mothers are better mothers.

The big takeaway

Stop feeling guilty.

Want to date? Go for it — AND DON’T FEEL GUILTY!

Need a sex life? NO GUILT FOR YOU – ONLY BOOTY!

Need to hit the gym? HIRE A SITTER AND DON’T LOOK BACK!

Looking forward to that business trip even though you have to leave the kids at home? KILL IT!

I’m not worried you'll neglect the kids. If you are like the professional moms I know, the pendulum swings way in the other direction — and you’re far more likely to neglect yourself.

emma johnson family
Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.

Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.

A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.

About Emma Johnson

Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list. Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.


  1. Peter on January 30, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Taking notes here…

    • Lola on October 14, 2015 at 4:55 am

      I ‘think’ Emma should have put a bit more effort into her marriage and show a bit more respect for her kids instead of acting like a desperado hitting dating sites.

      • William on November 25, 2015 at 5:53 pm

        A young woman want all of her attention focused on herself even if she’s a single mother with kids that’s not possible when you have kids you wanted that much attention you shouldn’t have spread your legs that just goes to with the territory if you put your kids second I’m a prime example of being forced to put my kids second in order to keep my relationship somewhat functional then your children all of a sudden don’t feel that attention anymore my daughter have gotten to the point where she tried cutting herself a few times those little precious minds need all the help and wisdom and guidance that they can get especially from their fathers and no woman should feel right just from taking that alone time away from another child that’s very f****** selfish in my girlfriend is very f****** selfish I tell her this all the time I don’t f****** cry wine and b**** and complain when she has to do s*** for her children but the moment I do something for one of my children he’s a f****** wreck very nasty ugly person to be around then she wonders why we never get along it’s because he can’t accept my children being around there’s no time and her own world for them to fit in but on another note I can sit there all week with her and her children everything’s fine but the minute the weekend comes around usually becomes an argument I get my children on the weekends I used to get him every weekend I split up my parenting time every other weekend so that me and her could have some time and now its to the point where she keeps pushing the issue of her selfishness that I don’t even want to be with her there’s got to be a woman out there a mature woman who understands that you can’t take that attention that a father feels for his children away from a man think that it’s okay I didn’t say it has to be 24/7 7 days a week devoted towards your children which I don’t do but I’m f****** day out of the week isn’t going to hurt anyone and if you can’t deal with that then you need to move on

        • MARSHA on December 2, 2015 at 8:23 am

          I TOTALLY AGREE with you. We have ONE chance at raising our kids right!!! We will ALWAYS be our kids parents but we may not always be our lovers partner. When our kids see that we care and devote more time to someone else more than them which are our OWN flesh and blood, then resentment and hatred can creep in. Now you may start to hate and resent your partner so everyONE loses. I can’t love someone who doesn’t love and respect my kids. Children are very resilient but feeling the abandonment of a parent or both parents has LIFETIME REPERCUSSIONS. Sacrifices must be made for the betterment of the child or children because they will be grown and out the house quick enough so we can then find someone to be our partners and thats when its appropriate to put that person first and ONLY to a certain extent then. Best wishes to all!!!

          • sem on December 18, 2015 at 8:51 pm

            This is why single people should not date ppl with children, you will always be 3rd, 4th, 5th etc.

            • Emma on December 22, 2015 at 9:08 am

              Not always. We all make choices.

            • dan on December 27, 2015 at 12:17 am

              Could always luck out and maybe they hate their children so you still come out as #1

            • Tam on December 27, 2015 at 5:51 pm

              Not true at all. If I can have more than one child and still love them all equally and have room in my heart and life to be sure that they all get what they deserve I am capable of doing the same for the man in my life as well. It’s about balance.

            • Emma on December 27, 2015 at 5:51 pm

              Thank you.

            • Graham on December 28, 2015 at 12:21 pm

              That’s a two way street… people with children should rather not date single people, if they do, it is also their job to then help the single person to adjust to a lifestyle with children… but then also the single person should also realise that they are jumping into a relationship with children… both parties need to be mature and work together… giving each other time to be alone together… not everything is about the kids… most things are though… but not everything… I know, I’ve been down this road already… and I found that I needed to love the children as if they were my own… I’ve had to work very hard .. and I succeeded.. because WE wanted to succeed, otherwise don’t get involved. It was tough for the first year… learning about the children, setting boundaries and what I would have done had they been my flesh and blood children… once over that hurdle you begin to be a parent and you do need to make time for each other… them, you and her/him… it’s not easy at first, but it does get easy once you are all on the same page. WORK… WORK… WORK… and the rewards come. If you are that serious…

            • Gemma on January 5, 2016 at 5:50 am

              I very much do not agree with Tam. If a parent dates a single person without children they might have room in your heart for that single person. But that single person gives you their whole entire heart. Their heart all yours, no sharing, no compensating and no restrictions. It’s not enough to just give them a part of you because there happens to be some extra room in your heart next to the children. Not even close to enough! Single parents sould just stick with dating other single parents instead of feeling they have the right to take someone else’s happiness away just to cater to their own.

            • Emma on January 6, 2016 at 12:14 pm

              Again, really a limited view on the capacities of the human heart. Lots and lots of stories that suggest all kinds of people can successfully partner — to the benefit of all parties involved.

            • Gem on January 7, 2016 at 6:05 am

              It’s not a limited view on the capacities of the human heart. It’s reality. Being someones one and only is very different from being just another face in the crowd that needs time and attention.

              I’m not questioning the ability to love more people at one time. I’m questioning the ability to show that love. You only have 1 sunday every week, you only have 1 summer holiday and 1 christmas and 1 birthday each year. A childfree person will spend those times with their partner, working on their relationship, strengtening that bond and show the love that is felt. The partner who has children needs to divede their time and attention. It’s just plain and simple, we have limited resourcers.

              You might love your partner as much as any other person does, I don’t doubt that. But you can’t show it in a sufficient way. Don’t kid yourself by pretending that does not hurt the childfree person because studies show it does in 100% of the cases. Every single study on the subject shows people would have been happier in their relationships if the partners children had not been there.

            • Vier on January 16, 2016 at 12:24 am


            • Rachel on February 11, 2016 at 11:57 am

              I date a man with a child and he puts me first. He recognizes that in order for the system to function, he must put his partner’s needs before his child’s and in doing so we have an excellent dynamic where I feel appreciated and his son feels loved by both of us and adores spending time with us. It’s also a great example to show the child because he sees us always making an effort to communicate with each other about parenting decisions and anything else.

            • Kevin on March 12, 2016 at 7:25 pm

              I disagree. I’ve dated women with children and we were able to schedule our time to coincide with when her ex had the kids, or she would get a babysitter. If the other person always has the kids, it may mean getting a babysitter or arranging for the child to do a sleepover at a friend’s house. Seeing the parent being happy is good for children, as long as the child isn’t being ignored.

            • Jen on March 29, 2016 at 4:13 pm

              Exactly! I learned my mistake the hard way. Was in a 10 year plus relationship with my bf who has two kids of his own. We have no children of our own. At this point I’m just so exhausted with everything that entails being a step parent I really have no interest of having children of my own. I’m a 32 female too. I will probably never date another single father, even if I have to be alone for the rest of my life. Good luck to everyone.

            • Marie on June 19, 2016 at 11:48 am

              So true that is why i wont date a man with kids. I do not want to take care of someone elses. If they have an adult child it would be somewhat different. That is provided the child is an adult in every sense of the word. The parents need to grow up a bit and realize that they their children will eventually want to have relationships of their own someday. The adult child will put their husband/wife above them.

            • Bridget on August 12, 2016 at 3:15 pm

              Thank you

          • Chad on December 31, 2015 at 12:29 pm

            Thank you for being such a amazing voice of reason. So many needy, insecure women here feeling like they have to compete with a child. It’s sickening.

            • Sherry on February 7, 2016 at 2:57 pm


            • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 10:15 am

              Who’s competing with children? Your missing the point entirely.

            • C on October 28, 2016 at 9:24 pm

              If your child is number one all the time. A partner does not want to feel like somebody else is always more important are better than them whether it’s another person your romantically interested in our a kid. If you make your partner feel like number one and they know they are loved… Then they give love.

            • Linda on March 25, 2018 at 1:29 pm

              I think you are wrong. You are dating a woman to have a relationship with , because the child can not love you the Way a man needs Love.
              If you center all you time on that child, he will never understand how to share, how to love or understand the dynamics of a relationship.
              I dated/was engaged to a man who Never brought me into that child life. He only had spurts I was allowed. That child played Mature video games of shooting and Violence, But I was a Bad Influence?
              I think you have not resolved your guilt from the Marriage, and Guilt from being a Parent. The child Will not break from Seeing you Happy.
              He may crumble later, and make more mistakes.

          • Jess on January 4, 2016 at 9:19 am

            You are correct. This IS what happens when a stranger is put before the child. I no longer speak to my mother after she started this behavior when we were all ADULTS. Think of my resentment had she done this when I was a kid!?

            • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 10:17 am

              She didn’t do it right. You are missing the point. This is about being selfless not selfish.

            • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 6:21 pm

              Get therapy.

            • Pamela on March 28, 2016 at 11:56 am

              Thank you! This is exactly what I am trying to avoid in my current relationship. My daughters’ father abandoned them years ago and I refuse to do that also.

            • Julia on May 1, 2016 at 9:36 pm

              I can actually attest to that. I’m not old enough to leave the house yet and I have to deal with always being put last. Yes I’m older and can take care of myself but when my mom is gone for a full week without checking to see if I’m ok it crosses a line. I don’t care how much fun she’s having with her boyfriend (who completely changed her into this emotionally vacan and uncaring mother) she has resposibilities. I’m not the one who asked to be born. I’m not the one who asked to have my parents marriage fail. I’m not saying that single parents shouldn’t be able to date, but they need to realize that all of their decisions affect us in ways they could never even think of. Their child has probably already thought about how they were the ones to break their parents up and now you’re going to tell me that it’s ok to kick them to the curb just to get a little action? And what of the man you decide to date has complete different parenting view than you? And you decide to move in with them? That’s what my situation is. My mom went from a caring and loving mother to the next coming of hitler and it’s all because she puts her stupid asinine boyfriend first. He’s verbally abusive and has no respect for me as a person and that’s alright with me mom because she “puts him first”. Yes I believe that mothers lives should be more centered around their children’s lives that some boy toy they met at a bar. Your child is solely dependent on you. You’re all they’ve ever know. How could you push you kids aside for someone you just met? It’s selfish. It’s not even fathomable to me. You chose to have children and in doing that you realized that they are now your priority. Not some dude you think is the love of your life. I can’t even believe someone had the nerve to write this.

          • Ann on January 25, 2016 at 5:18 pm

            I was a devoted single mother of two son’s. Always put them ahead of dating or anything onyone else in my life. Today, both boys are well educated, have great jobs, and are both married. Also, they are such dedicated husband’s to their respective spouses and their spouses family’s, they place me last in their lives. I used to be very close to both son’s prier to their getting married, and was close to the wives also. However, all that has changed and they, especially my older don (30), see,’s his inlaws weekly, but never makes time to visit or come to my home when invited for dinner. Of course, I always ask their spouses just as I would my son’s. As I have been told many times “when boys get married, the inlaws gain a son. And, his mother loses a son.” So unfortunate, but true in many cases such as mine. I gave my children my love, time, attention, and care; I was also their sole bread winner in ourhousehold. They never went w/o anything they needed, and we traveled annually outside the state we lived, and did famy outings most every weekend.

            • nadine on February 9, 2016 at 7:23 am

              Ann it did upset me a lot to read what has happened to you. My mum was very close to me and I was the one trying to support her while ill for few years, and the last holding her hands as she was leaving. I think it is important for ourselves to be able to say “I have done everything I could”. We all know good actions are often forgotten .

              Keep strong.

            • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 10:18 am


              You are making a valid point and the other people who commented on your grammar are cruel. Yours son’s behavior is a warning to many people including myself.

            • jerry on March 9, 2016 at 10:52 pm

              good for you , singlemother hood should be out lawed ..the father is the rightful leader of the family

            • Lisa on March 15, 2018 at 11:59 am

              If you had a daughter it would be different, as you’d be more close and she would tell you every thing about her husband lol. I know a lot of close mothers and daughters as the daughters (adult) they get closer. Its not that you are last…they still come around, imagine if you made your son’s feel abandoned they would never come around. My mother abandoned me to start a new family and let her 2nd husband molest me. She put him first. I tried to kill myself 4 times already.

            • Debbie Smith on June 5, 2018 at 6:43 pm

              I am sad to know that this has happened to you. I hope that your sons will begin to make much more time and space for your relationship.

              I also understand. I was widowed when my kids were 6 and 11. I worked multiple jobs to keep our home which is in a wonderful neighborhood and excellent school system. I was always very involved in their activities – team parent, chaperone on color guard trips – and spent many many hours helping with homework, listening to problems, having their friends over, and taking them out to eat and on nice vacations. We live a few blocks from my parents – I chose to stay in a small town so they could have a relationship with their grandparents and uncle and aunt. We were a very close loving family (or so I thought). My oldest (when a senior in college) decided to go on a week long trip to a beach town nearly 1000 miles away with an older friend and her friend’s small children. When she came home, she texted that she loved me but that she was going to move to that beach town. My oldest also texted that she wanted to act like an adult and be independent. This happened very suddenly and unexpectedly. All of sudden, no phone calls or requests to meet for lunch. No going to movies on Sunday nights with the family or family dinners. Just a text once every few weeks. I have not seen my oldest in over 3 weeks. The few times I’ve called her, she often does not call back. My parents are beside themselves as she used to visit them for an 1 hour each week. She actually was the one who wanted family dinners each week – we did this for years. My parents have not seen her in nearly 3 months.

              I broke up with a man who I was engaged to because he was too critical of my children and me (and for other reasons). After that, I dated only occasionally, I never introduced a date to the children. I took the advice to focus on your children first and to give everything up for them.

              So I think this advice to find love and a partner first is right on the mark. If this hadn’t happened with my oldest child, I would have disagreed with this advice. So just because your child, teen, or even young adult child tells you that they love you and visits you often, it doesn’t mean it won’t change suddenly for no reason at all. So I’ve now learned the hard way that I need to find a partner for myself. I really really don’t think (I hope) that my youngest will treat me the way that my oldest has. However, it is clear to me now that sacrifices made, even great sacrifices, may not be appreciated by an adult child. So, yes, you need to take care of yourself because later in life, your children may not have any interest in being around you no matter how good a parent you are (were).

          • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 6:20 pm

            You shouldn’t have gotten divorced than and maybe made better choices to begin with!

          • jac on April 9, 2016 at 3:10 pm

            I’m a single woman without kids and my fiancée has three daughters – two grown (& living out of state) and one 7 year old. He has his youngest part time. I love her dearly, but I don’t have a close bond with her. i’ve had to tell him I expected to sit in the front seat in his truck and not in the back. That did change shortly after I expressed my frustration, but I shouldn’t had to ask to sit in the front seat. I grew up with parents, grandparents, and friends whose parents stayed married. Never did the parents place the kids above the spouse (or another adult for that matter). I believe this is just leading to entitlement issues and done out of guilt in his case. I always felt love from my parents and I knew one parent wouldn’t override the other parent to side with me or my brother. They would discuss and then decided. From my experience I see that dads are big softies and give into their kids’ every wish. This is the line I’m walking – my fiancée would do most anything for his daughter. She is a smart and for the most time well behaved child. I just don’t have the motherly instinct for her. Plus, she has a mom and I don’t want to take that place. However, if I’m going to be put in the back seat or not made a priority then I’m not so sure I’m cut out for step kids. With that said my fiancée does love me, but I don’t think he realizes the toll it is taken on me. I’m not expecting him to choose to love me more, but I do expect to be a top priority. Right now I’m a close second with his ex wife , but after three years this might be closely increasing…. Oh wait, no it isn’t. He moved her and she didn’t have enough room so it’s now in his living room and garage. Hmm… not sure why I’m still around, except I do feel he loves me, but his actions are lacking the love.

            • jac on April 9, 2016 at 3:16 pm


            • Amanda on May 17, 2016 at 11:39 am

              Leave him

            • Jenn on June 12, 2016 at 8:24 pm

              I’m just now reading this thread because I have found myself in this predicament and no matter what I say, nothing ever seems to change. I live with my partner of 3 years and her 4 children from 2 previous marriages (yes, to men) I knew being a step-parent would be difficult but I never imagined it would be this hard- or LONELY. My girlfriend spends all her time and energy on doting on the kids’ every request. She simply has no time for me. And it leaves me feeling like nothing more than the hired help. I do all the cooking and cleaning. We NEVER get any time alone. Every night, her 17 year old son comes in our bedroom after the little kids have gone to bed, and hangs out in there on the recliner until my girlfriend falls asleep. We have no privacy, no time to be alone and talk. I’m at the end of my rope. I’ve told her so many times how I feel and she says she’ll change but nothing ever does. Bottom line- if you don’t make your partner/spouse a priority, someone else will.

            • Emma on June 13, 2016 at 11:21 am

              Sorry to hear this – sounds like you have a hard decision to make

            • LRR on June 23, 2016 at 3:44 pm

              I am with Jac. Leave the dude. Also, a good significant other will realize and honor time that you need alone with your children as well. I am in a relationship, and I have three sons. My significant other has a son as well. We have the same values and parenting styles – a discussion I recommend any single parent has early on with any potential ‘significant’ partner. He understands me when I say “I am have QT time with my bambinos this weekend, I’ll be in touch”, and vice versa. We both have plenty to do outside of spending time always together. I think it is important to balance out QT time with you and your kiddos, and you and your partner, and then all together as a family. See, single parenting and dating requires those of us to manage more relationships – which is totally possible. The deal is that I’ve learned there are people who are so boxed into a certain cultural ideal or upbringing that if you had to do anything outside of that, or tragedy befell you , you’d break at the slightest obligation of having to move beyond the comforts of your own limiting life philosophy. I prefer to set sail, navigate some uncharted territory, and learn new relational skills along this path —-p.s. I’m going to teach all of my kids how to be emotionally healthy, resilient, and wise along the way – after all, we take our children with us along this road of life. My children will have (and currently do not have) any doubts of my love for them. I am forever a mother, and will always be, AND, I will always be myself, which I was before I was a mother. I believe your ultimate success in life depends on your outlook – are you a passenger, or are you going to choose to be the grown up – the navigator, the parent, the spouse? Good thing it’s up to you! Here’s to setting sail to brighter and beautiful destinations!

          • Nene on April 30, 2016 at 8:21 pm

            I agree but only slightly because no mother should put there child..second to any man or no man should put his child before any woman.. This generation has changed..it’s not the same like how it was back in the day..there are millions of kids who get abused sexual harassed or who end up dead or kidnapped…all because of the lack of attention parents give…to there own seed..all because the mother wants attention that she never had from a man..it’s ok to date n get out there but it’s never ok or safe to interduce your kids to plp you date..but with so much going on in the younger generation it’s important to pay close close attention to your child first..because most kids don’t speak up for themselves for a mother to know what’s really going on with there child my point is it’s ok to have fun as single mother but always pay attention to your kid and put no man or woman before you kid no kid should be second Ever!! Otherwise don’t lay down spreading your wings and poppin a baby out you V if your not wanting to be a full time single parent.. It’s sickening to choose to a whore over being a parent first..but who ever the bloggers that wrote this hopefully your child don’t end up put you second when you can no longer do for yourself and need help of the return from your kids. Think about it..

            • Darryen Houston on June 14, 2016 at 8:33 pm


            • Angela Hall on December 21, 2017 at 1:07 am

              I’m in a relationship with a man with 2 girls that he has fulltime. All I have to say is OMG

            • Lisa on March 15, 2018 at 12:18 pm

              Yes! My mother choose a man over me now i have emotional scars. I haven’t spoken to my mother in over 12 years! She let her boyfriend hit me in private – i never said anything to her, because i was only 7 and didn’t understand it was abuse. When I was 10 he molested me and kept touching me. I told a relative and was taken away. He told her to choose me or him and reminded her that daughters grow up and get married, so once a child is 18 they don’t need a mother anymore. Not true. so she choose him. Today as a woman I crave a mother and daughter relationship but I cannot forgive her. I wish she knew the adult I am and I wish we were close…but its not true! children do not just grow up and disappear – look around you it is your kids that help you to doctors appts when you are 85, after your husband is dead and gone. We are the ones that drive mom or dad to get groceries it all depends how you raise us. I hate my mother and could care less if she dies! She abandoned me for another man. Why not make your first relationship work then? If the spouse is more important in “gods” eyes why not stay with the man you created life with? why choose a 2nd, 3rd. You only have so many kids! They aren’t replaceable but the man is.

          • Joyce on May 3, 2016 at 12:05 am

            Totally agree!

            • ALOCIN on May 15, 2018 at 4:35 pm

              I am so sorry to read.about children being abused by step fathers and that the mum then chooses that man. I am a single mum to a 9 year old special needs little girl. She is my whole world. Her dad abused me in all ways and then left my poor little Angel- promised her the world and never calls or speaks to her of course it is my fault- am I hurt yes i am heart broken for her and for my broken marriage. I didnt marry an abusive man or want my child to hate me that he has gone and forgotten she exists. All I ever wanted was a family. My family is now different me and my little girl. She didnt ask for this life and nor did I but she is a child with special needs and I am the adult Mum who will always fight for her. If I end uo alone- thats fine NO MAN will ever be more important than that little lady ever.

          • Madison on May 21, 2016 at 11:11 pm

            I understand the point that the writer is trying to make- IE, sexuality and self-fulfillment don’t make you a bad mother and role modeling a strong relationship is important to children- but agree with you. My mother chose a partner when I was 7 that she’s absolutely in love with and is still the center of her world, but he was not good to me. He would swear at me, call me a whore, and was not loving towards me, and she never asked me how I felt about him or his behavior towards me. The message I received was that it was more important for her to serve him than to be my mom. It had major effects on my self esteem and the way I view relationships. I thought I would never marry because I viewed marriage as giving up your own life, which is not at all the point the writer is trying to make. I think a single parent should date, should have their own life, but should also choose a mate based on the life they now have, which involves children being more important than some guy online, at least until you’ve established that he’s worthy.

          • TA on June 26, 2016 at 6:41 pm

            With the relationSHIT you’re in it’s hard to imagine anyone taking advice from you. The woman who wrote this article isn’t saying it’s wise to be with a woman who resents your children and their presence. You’re taking the wrong idea from the article.

          • Misty on June 27, 2016 at 6:51 pm

            Thank you thank you thank you! I am 43, no kids, recently divorced. Doing the online dating thing. So far I have been told while our first date was being cancelled because of his kids that his kids will always take precedence . I have been told, sorry can’t talk on the phone I have my kids tonight and lastly I can’t talk because I’m watching my granddaughter. If you don’t have time to talk on the phone why are they even trying to date??? I didn’t have kids for a reason, I knew dating a man with kids might be difficult… But come on… Talk on the phone?!?!???? I would rather stay single then play second best to some kid with ice cream all over their face or who plays soccer every stinking day and daddy can’t miss one practice.

            • Diamond on July 8, 2016 at 12:54 am

              Preach! In my opinion single parents should date other single parents (they are in the same boat after all and “like attracts like”) or just wait with dating until the kids grow up and fly out. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Most single parents need a serious reality check.

            • Emma on July 11, 2016 at 1:28 pm

              That is too limiting. Plenty of childless people who make great step-parents or additions to single-parent families, and are thrilled to do so.

            • Tanner on September 22, 2016 at 3:40 am

              Funny you say that Emma, because the last time I checked 75% of stepparents resent the kids being there, 17% outright hates the kids, 5% are ok with the kids but would rather they hadn’t been there and that leaves 3% who actually enjoy their partners kids and that group mostly consists of women who married a widdowed man who’s child was under 2 years old when they met. Suicide rates are highest among stepparents, so are depression, burn-outs and a large group of stepparents ends up with ptss or other related mental problems often seen in domestic abuse situations. But I’m sure many people are just thrilled to give up their own life, fit in the mold of someone else’s and be punished for the rest of their lives for their partners indiscretions.

            • Amy on December 4, 2017 at 11:38 am

              Then don’t date anyone with kids. Like you said you didn’t have kids for a reason. Might wanna stick to that

          • Stacy on August 7, 2017 at 8:04 am

            Exactly, whoever wrote this article is the most self serving person ever! My Mom put her relationship with my stepdad first over her kids, he abused the shit out of us but my Mom was to love blind to see it. It effected my brother the most, ended up doing 10 years in prison. Very saf.

          • Rebecca on October 4, 2017 at 7:19 pm

            I don’t think a dating relationship should come before a child. Thats craziness parenthood requires sacrifice. And dating is a good way to see if said person is willing to sacrifice.

            HOWEVER yes you have to make relationship with spouse a priority that means date nights going away sometimes. It is the best thing you can do for your kid.

            The key is finding Someone who will your priority loves and cares for your child. And puts your child’s well being above themselves because that is their values.

          • Dakota on March 26, 2018 at 5:17 am

            Take it from a daughter who just recently lost her mother to a new man. Put your children first. My parents filed for divorce less than a year ago and have just recently completed it. Even though it’s been a tough journey and it broke my heart, I respected my parents dicsion. A very short while after their divorce way finalized, I realized my mother was starting to see another man. I confronted her and she confessed but assured me that they were only friends at that point. I told her I was happy for her and asked her if he was cute. We had a mature talk about it and I was satisfied. The next night I came home late to find them in bed with each other. Some friend. Again, I confronted her but this time I explained how the quickness of this relationship bothered me deeply. I ended up moving out of my mothers house because every time I came home, either this man would be there or my mother would be out with him. It sickened me how quickly she moved on from my father. A few weeks later, she asked me to stay with her again because she missed having me around. Of course, I missed my momma too so I agreed as long as I didn’t have to hang out with her “friend”. I called and called all night to no avail. I continued calling in fear that something happened to her as she ususally will pick up her phone quickly. I rushed to her house only to find her “friends” belongings in the house. As a young adult in this generation, I knew she had been online after the time I called her. This confirmed that she knew I called and had chosen to ignore me. She’s chosen this stranger she’s know for a little over a month, over her first child and only daughter. I’m absolutely devastated. I love my mother with all of my heart but the more and more she chooses him over me, the less and less I want to even attempt to catch her attention. Please, parents, pay attention to your children. By all means, go on dates and find love again, you deserve it. But don’t let your children suffer as a result. I’m leaving in a few months and won’t be able to see my mother for a long time. She’s burning a bridge I didn’t even know could be burnt.

          • Dee Dee on August 27, 2018 at 11:56 am

            Okay first off if you were still married to your partner or were with the biological father of your children, your children would just deal with the fact that mom and dad have time, but because a man you are dating/ sleeping with, kissing, hugging, holding hands with should be treated any different bc he’s not as you say FLESH IN BLOOD.
            and you say your child need to be respected by whom ever it is that your dating, that’s earned, and as we all know children don’t know how to share, children even my 27 yr old son and my 20 year old daughter are selfish, we have an amazing relationship, but lets face it kids or millennials are selfish/ or feel a self entitlement because its parenting skills, its parents who put them first and now they are brats that have joined the human race, and their all about themselves bc they where never taught to share, they speak to their elders as if the elders know nothing.
            Im telling you this is the world that we live in now.
            If children see us in a healthy relationship, and see us respecting out partner’s, this is how they learn, not by mommy or daddy bending over backwards to kiss the ground they walk on.
            Bc children meet their partners and guess what? they will put the parent sec and not blink an eye about it. Then the parent who did all this bending over backwards… is left alone…to try and find someone to be a partner, and now that the parent is older.. it to hard to find anyone who wants to be with them, bc all their youth is gone.. Im telling you I’ve seen it a ton of times..

            • MEM on August 28, 2018 at 10:19 pm

              I had two stepdads (with whom I lived at some point) and three stepmoms (with whom I didn’t) growing up. My mom and I remained very close throughout all this turmoil. She put me “first” until it was time to break away and I was a teenager. I was glad that she found the right person to spend her life with when I was about 15. I always thought I’d make a great stepmom, having been through all of that. Recently met a man I really liked; he has a couple of teenagers and a college-aged kid and told me he was free all week and all weekend. But when I said Great, how about __day? He gave me this sudden caveat that his kids’ plans weren’t yet set but yeah let’s plan for that. Sure enough, he kept me hanging all week without a word until the evening before our date to tell me the date was “on” – only to cancel (via text) hours later on account of his kids and guilt over taking time away from them. To me, that warranted a phone call or even a grander gesture or at least an “I’ll make it up to you – I’m excited to see you” (perhaps he wasn’t). The worst of it? I didn’t feel comfortable complaining about his handling of this, because he said, “My kids come first.” Impossible to argue with that; it’s quite the trump card, but in my view putting teens and older first shouldn’t mean making your would-be date wait all week for a confirmation only to be canceled on; it means promptly checking with your kids, informing your date one way or another, and setting some boundaries. If you want to date you have to make room for the other person, just as the other person needs to make room for the kids. If either can’t do that, don’t date. I won’t even speak to the ugly comments on this site (mainly from men) referring to women sluts and whores just for having kids (spreading their legs?!) or the supposed crime of dating or wanting to date — except to say it’s repulsive.

          • Henry on August 28, 2018 at 7:27 pm

            I agree with you too on that.

          • Vin Gill on December 26, 2018 at 10:55 pm

            I think that in your first marriage, you should put your relationship first before the kids because if that relationship fails, everyone suffers, sometimes for a very long time after a split. It models how to treat a significant other, etc. We do live in a kid centered world now, more so than in the past, which can be harmful to kids in the long run.
            However, after a divorce, I don’t necessarily agree with putting dating and relationships first before kids. The divorce rate is almost 70% with second marriages that involve kids, and I can’t imagine what the lifetime consequences would be for a child going through that again after becoming attached to a step parent, step sibling, etc. I don’t buy the line that says, “kids are resilient, they’ll bounce back!” Studies have shown that kids bounce back better from a death of parent more so than a divorce. I think that when a child is in the 10-16 yr old range during the critical developmental stages, it’s not a good time to date and get remarried. This is why I’m not even contemplating dating now. All of what I just said is backed up by studies and facts, I’m not just throwing out how I feel about it.
            Yes, there are exceptions, such as when a spouse disappears, when a spouse is abusive, then another person can come in and be a good role model. Most marriages don’t end this way in this day and age, they end usually because someone is not putting the work in to “feel love” or to meet another person’s needs as best as they can.

        • ally on December 4, 2015 at 11:29 am

          Your post makes no sense. Learn some grammar. Also, you r not looking for a mature woman. U are looking for a woman who is willing to accept that she is not important to you. There is a big difference. Good luck with that. May I suggest finding one who was raised like u are raising your kids. She should already be acquainted with the idea that women are disposable, as u are teaching your children.

          • Meh on January 19, 2018 at 7:58 am

            You bitches sound extremely desperate and needy. So needy that you have to compete with children for their parent’s (who was THEIR parent LONG before they met you) attention. You’re a whore that needs to know that you don’t come before someone’s kid.

            • MsTruth on March 20, 2018 at 12:16 am

              You’re a dipshit who is raising future narcissistic fucktards who think the world revolves around them. You will never touch a fine, thin, beautiful, educated woman like myself with those little mistakes chained to you. Id be angry too. Single fathers should stay out of the dating circuit and date their damn daughters the way you all slobber over their every whine. Little brats should have never been born; if they were meant to exist, youd still be with their mother; but it wasn’t meant to be, was it? Save the indignant hate; I know YOU know it’s true.

        • ells on December 14, 2015 at 9:43 pm

          Wow – was there a full stop in any of that?

        • Chad on December 31, 2015 at 12:34 pm

          Same situation here. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone, or crazy lol

        • driver on January 8, 2016 at 12:00 am

          I think you’re projecting, dude. No self-respecting woman is going to want to date somebody who sees them like that. You have a crappy attitude. If you want to model a bad relationship for your kids where you treat your girlfriend as a third wheel, you should just let her go. Nobody is winning there, especially not your kids. Your boys will grow up thinking it’s okay to belittle women, girls will grow up thinking they should be treated like you’re treating your girlfriend.

          (And maybe incorporate some punctuation in your next rant.)

          • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 10:19 am


          • Diamond on July 8, 2016 at 12:55 am

            So true, well said, Driver!

          • MEM on August 28, 2018 at 10:29 pm

            Driver, you rock. :)

          • Mommbear on November 1, 2018 at 8:29 am

            Awesome!!! Well said.

        • LDL on January 28, 2016 at 12:23 pm

          This is one of the BEST articles on this subject I have ever read! Thank you for clearly communicating what I have been trying to explain for too long! My goal a a single Mom, is to meet a man that really gets this. In their defense, men are riddled with guilt about being a great parent however, what I have experienced is a cultural shift from a ‘hands-off’ Dad to an overcompensating, smothering one….not attractive and so unintentionally harmful to the very children they are trying to care for!

          • Emma on January 28, 2016 at 12:30 pm

            “I have experienced is a cultural shift from a ‘hands-off’ Dad to an overcompensating, smothering one….not attractive and so unintentionally harmful to the very children they are trying to care for!”

            Wow – so true, really great observation! Future blog material, that!

            • jenny on February 1, 2016 at 4:17 pm

              Absolutely true. My ex smothers our son like Tiger Wood’s dad did to Tiger Woods….constantly making him practice basketball, baseball or football. Quizzes him about the game (any and all 3) like our son is a monkey at a circus!!! Trying to live the dream thru his son that he missed for whatever reason. I try to add the balance by encouraging him to build lego’s or I give him some of my paint brushes and he paints with me! I just became engaged after being divorced from my son’s dad for 2 1/2 years. My fiance is respectful of my son’s father and has offered to meet so he can reassure him that he has no desire to replace him as a father and that he is more of an uncle figure. My son’s father says, no way I don’t ever care to meet that guy. ” (he knows his first name but immaturely refuses to refer to him by that). Which makes no sense to me…I’d want to know everything about someone my ex was going to marry! If she’s going to be around my son …I would absolutely want to meet her. BUT….my ex who was emotionally abusive to me for 10 years…. is now suddenly the victim. lol He is acting in front of everyone to try and cast me as a bad mom because I chose to extricate my son and I before I totally sunk into deep depression. My son’s father is 46 years old and I am 45 years old….but in terms of emotional age, he’s like 17. In the process of dating this wonderful man, I had no sleep overs, I introduced him to my son at a Panera Bread and as my friend only. We met to play at a bounce house and i slowly increased the time. Now my son runs into his arms and screams…I missed you…let’s go build something (my fiance is very handy and teaching him to use tools etc.). There is an appropriate way to do dating after divorce. I also received guidance from my therapist who I continue to see every 3 months. Oh, yes the ex hasn’t gone to his therapist since I left.

          • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 10:20 am

            Absolutely.I have seen this as a teacher and over the years it has become increasingly disturbing.

          • BR on September 9, 2016 at 6:58 am

            I couldn’t agree more!!!!!! I am a single mother of 4 and it’s absolutely ridiculous. I don’t understand why these men think they have time to date when they are NEVER available to actually date. I get that the kids will always come first, because my kids always come first as well. BUT, c’mon, you can miss one soccer practice here and there….their world will not crumble if you aren’t there every single time. Extremely frustrating.

            • Beccaa on July 7, 2018 at 11:52 am

              I broke up with a guy who told me even though he has the summer off and a week before he gets daughter he cannot commit to one Weekeend night with me because he first has to make sure all errands are done for daughters week long visit! Gosh forbid quite literally the little girl go on one errand. I told him nope don’t understand that one you should be able to do all three. Do your errands, spend time with me and your daughter.

          • Fae on July 4, 2018 at 6:45 am

            I’m a 51 year old woman who was married for 27 years and have a 23 year old son who has always been the center of my world I’ve been divorced now for 3 years and I’m in a commented relationship with a man who can’t understand that my son comes first in my life he says he feels like a 3 rd wheel and I get upset when he says that we don’t live together my son still lives with me a college graduate and has good job but not ready for buying house has college to pay off I don’t care what some say I think your child should always come first

        • Maegan on February 22, 2016 at 2:13 pm

          Dear William, I tried to read you message, but it was very difficult to follow as you have not used any punctuation. You just went off on a rant. If you want people to sympathize with your feelings, perhaps you should put a little more effort into expressing them. Otherwise you just sound like a cry baby tool.

        • Kristin on April 10, 2016 at 10:15 am

          Wow, William. It sounds like instead of blasting Emma, you should be working on – or ending – your relationship, and brush up on the structure of a sentence.

        • Diana on June 3, 2016 at 1:14 pm

          I love how people exaggerate things when they are guilty of something. No where in this article does it say to abandon your kids! It simply states the obvious, if you don’t take care of your relationship then everyone loses. If you get up in the middle of dinner to talk to your son or daughter it is disrespectful to your partner. There is nothing wrong with saying son, I’m having dinner with my wife I will call you back as soon as I’m done. There are so many divorces now a day because couples once they have kids lose themselves in their kids; they are living for their kids, not with them. Most parents feel so guilty because of divorces that they try to make up for it somehow. The kids see that and take advantage as well. If children see a loving relationship where the husband and wife respect each other kids will follow. If your daughter is slitting her wrists, well, I believe their is something else wrong. Try a psychologist!

          • Mike on July 14, 2016 at 8:57 am

            You are so right Diana. After reading your post, I thought you are right man….. Then I scrolled back up and realized the post was written by a woman…… A good woman who would be a devoted companion.
            I just broke up with my girlfriend of 2 years because she wouldn’t make me a priority over her 21 year old son. I loved her, but I felt like I would be 2nd, always.
            I am 48 years old, I wanted to marry this woman I love, but I can’t deal with #2 when my girlfriend wants one on one time with her son constantly. One on one time means I am excluded.
            My 2 adult son’s knew how I felt about my companion being
            She enjoyed being my top priority above all else, but wouldn’t do that for me.
            When you are my age, in the empty nest stage of life, it’s very important to be devoted to eachother and put no one before your future mate.
            My 2 son’s are happily married, and treat their wives as their #1 priority too.

            • Amber on October 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm

              Mike & Diana,

              I could not have said it better. I just got out of a 3 year relationship 2 days ago because his kids come first. I mean as every weekend/weekday and he has full custody of his 15 1/2 daughter and 18 year old son. Especially when she calls and says jump.. he says HOW HIGH!

              The main problem was just not only that he not spending time cultivating our relationship but his 15 1/2 daughter thought she could run the house. ( they moved into my condo ) . When daddy stopped being twisted around her finger all hell broke loose. They ended up moving out after 6 months. She even told her dad that she was going to break us up . She pulled all of the strings and daddy’s princess got her way.

            • Karl on October 29, 2016 at 11:30 pm

              Same thing happened to me. I’m 49-Girlfriend broke up with me after two and a half years of dating. Her one son hated me and he wouldn’t allow me to visit. I slowly but surely was pushed out of the picture. I felt hurt which lead to arguements. I always came last.

            • Lisa on November 16, 2016 at 12:08 pm

              I am in the same boat my friends. My boyfriend of two years, who currently lives with me and has his 12 year old daughter half the time, told me that his daughter wants to live with him alone. So he will be moving out to give her what she wants. I always have understood Daddy Daughter time and actually like when they have it. She is a good kid and we get along quite well. However, when she is here, we don’t even sleep in the same bed, he sleeps next to her. I think this is a recipe for disaster, she seems way underdeveloped and actually acts more like a 6 year old than a 12 year old. Still calls her father Dada, talks like a young child, can’t get herself a glass of water etc. I hope for her sake he wakes up, or she will be an adult acting like a 6 year old

            • Annoyed on July 28, 2017 at 5:32 pm

              You sound like a damn crybaby. All of you desperate “parents” who meet someone one day, and the next day you treat your kids like chopped fucking liver.

          • aizz_06 on December 26, 2016 at 12:39 pm

            Exactly diana!! You said it right.. There’s nothing really wrong on putting your relationship first before your kids..How will that person love your kids when you’re just letting that person feels like she’s/he’s just your option..I was there actually, that moment when you’re tired for being the 2nd in everything..I mean, i was fully committed to that person, we’ve been together for 7 years, and within those years i was there beside him trying to lift him up when he’s totally down, i was there trying to understand everything about him an tried to be the best i can be to his daughter..And then suddenly, i felt left out after doing those things..He can’t actually give time for me, we can’t have time together even in bed, the 3 of us shared the same bed..Most of the time, we fight even with small things, he shouts and yells at me in front of his kid..He sometimes never listens to me but to her kid..And they sometimes go somewhere without me..He’s spoiling her that much but he can’t even share his salary with me..Sometimes, i kept on asking myself, if i’m that really selfish for feeling this way?? Am i that stupid??or what?? jealous??i dunno now..

            • aizz_06 on December 26, 2016 at 1:10 pm

              and by the way, here comes to the point where his daughter disrespects and disobeys him even after spoiling her that much..

        • Pam on July 14, 2016 at 9:16 pm

          William, I completely agree with you! My 6 year old is a mommas baby! I cuddle with my 6 year old at bedtime; which of course is hours before my fiance and I go to bed… My fiance is bothered by my 6 year old and I having our short cuddle/story time. Yet, its ok for my fiance to cuddle with the older and younger kids… This has been going on for almost a year now, and if something doesn’t start to give, I’ll walk away and never look back! Some people are just far too selfish, jealous and controlling to make a priority! They demand all of everything and leave nothing for anyone else! It’s BS and its sickening!

        • Nick Goddard on October 5, 2016 at 5:33 pm

          I went through the same thing 2 years ago… it’s not worth it..

        • ariel on December 16, 2016 at 5:23 am

          are you serious writing like that? i bet you expect people to kiss you when you don’t brush your teeth. how about speaking real close with bad breath? punctuation doesn’t have to be perfect (note i’m not capping) but dang, bet you’re an abusive f*ck.

        • Lee on April 10, 2017 at 8:09 pm

          I think WIlliam needs to put commas first.

        • Joe Awad on March 3, 2018 at 6:47 pm

          How is it possible that you managed to write that entire page without any “.”? I have heard of ” run-on sentences “, but that was a ” rant -on ” page.

        • Truth on June 8, 2018 at 2:24 am

          Omg william I’m late but yes I can’t c myself putting any1 B4 my 2 awesome kids. when U R a well mature adult U learn time shared is important for a spouse & UR children. Society has so many varieties of single parents that do decide to put kids 2nd…. I ended up taking in 2 neighborhood kids & a friends 12yrold daughter for that reason. Its hard for a child to adjust to that situation after its been just themselve & mom/dad. So to remove them from #1 is damaging… But yet we wonder why so many kids commit suicide, run away, hate a parent, end up in domestic relationships , or try killing…Its neglect. now Little Robby, Ashley, Sandquan, or Tyasia looking for that attention/LOVE else where. will they be confident, strong, determined, and respectful as the King or Queen they R? Nope they end up settling because that 1 person that always put them 1st, showed them what love was, has now moved he/she down the priority list. 2nd hand….
          What about the kids abused, assaulted,or raped that feel they can’t talk to their parents because they know 9times out ta 10 mom/dad will discuss this with that man/woman and probably won’t believe them. calling the child jealous. I wish we came programmed when it came to parenting. But hey Maybe I’m wrong or just don’t understand… But as for me when I love I love hard that comes with the excepting& respecting my man rather its just him or him and 10kids. Thats a #1 in my book. If I deal with any1 its a must for me to see what his bond is like with his child/den… He and I vacation with my 2, his coming to. School shopping bring his along. They have a fall & is at the ER I’m there to. His kids Need some1 to talk to but not ready to tell mom/dad I’m there. His play sports I’m there cheerleader. Birthday parties I’m calling mom to c what I can do to help. I let any man I dated know I’m a ready made family u will not be dating me alone. U Have to show me & my boys love, respect, and U want us. So no matter time or day if mine call I’m running & I’ll except nothing less from him its a team relationship. If they don’t understand that then we are not gonna work. BYE LOL NO ROOM FOR A MAN TO EVEN TRY ME IF HE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND.

      • Gigi123 on January 18, 2016 at 7:54 pm

        Agreed. While yes, a strong and healthy marriage provides a strong backbone for a family, kids who have been through something as traumatic as divorce should most definitely come first in their parent’s lives, before their dating life. My siblings and I were unfortunately put last before my mom’s dating needs, this meant ditching us at dad’s so she could go on a date. This rips kids apart and the state of our relationship now as adults with our mother, clearly speaks volumes. If you decided to put them on this earth, it is your responsibility to ensure their needs are met before your own.

        • Amanda on May 17, 2016 at 11:57 am

          She ditched you at Dads to go on a date? How many times a week?

        • Truth on June 8, 2018 at 2:27 am


      • Mom_be_trippin on February 9, 2016 at 5:59 pm

        Not only is this article poorly written, lacking in strong evidence, and oddly stating that mothers are penalized for sexuality, but it is also insulting to men.
        Through dull anecdotes the writer tries to convince us that it is healthier to put a lover before their children. The author uses terms such as ” putting first” but fails to realize that there is no need to put anyone first, or second, or third. Romantic love is completely different from the love you have for a child. While making time for romantic love is important, putting a lover “first” over the creature that came out of your body, the one you would die for, is completely ridiculous.
        You get one shot at being a decent parent. You have hundreds of shots to date. Hang up the push up bra, put away the lace thong, and remember, men will always be there, however your children will not.

        • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 6:53 pm

          Yes, they will not be there and you have to make your future spouse feel just as equal. It is not their fault you divorced. it is your failure and only yours.

          • David on April 17, 2016 at 1:46 pm

            Jennifer and mom_be_trippin,

            As a 45 yr old divorced dad of two teen daughters, I seriously question your motives. It sounds like you try to take ownership of your kids’ feelings…like you are in charge of their happiness. Kids that lash out when they don’t get enough attention is because they lack a HEALTHY level of independence and self-esteem. Always putting them first does NOT help build self-esteem, it supports UNHEALTHY independence on others – in your case, dependence on you. What happens when they turn 18, and they’re expected to live on their own? I completely agree with the author that modeling a healthy, prioritized partnership with your significant other, whether that person is the biological parent or otherwise, shows kids that they need to learn to be in charge of their own health and happiness. Of course, this depends on the age of the children, but teens that are approaching independence will learn a lot from seeing their single parent prioritizing themselves TO SOME EXTENT. I’m not suggesting at all to ignore the kids, but they should not be calling the shots by always expecting to come first, or WORSE… being told they come first. That is what breeds selfishness in our kids.

            • TheMessenger on April 25, 2016 at 11:01 pm

              No kid wants to play second fiddle to some hag his Dad brought home to bang in the basement. But the kid that got to witness the steady rotiserie of men coming over to fuck his mom. Shit. That boy is gonna be a serial killer. You filthy whores just dont understand the lasting damage you cause with all of your whorish behavior.

            • Amanda on May 17, 2016 at 12:17 pm

              I totally agree. My mom and I barely speak but its not because she doesn’t love me. She’s busy with a 5 and 6 year old. Just like I’m busy with a 1 and 2 year old. I’ve been out of her house since I was 18 n function well. My mom was a single mother my whole life. She provided us with everything we needed and managed to take time for herself to go to Vegas and the Bahamas. She went to Cancun a few times and other places. She had boyfriends when I was growing up and I never once felt neglected or unloved. She supported me in all of my extra curricular activities and made sure I excelled in school. Every professional I’ve came across in my life has said mom has to take care of herself first in order to take care of her children. Having a lover is important to most people. If mom has a boyfriend that’s considered her taking care of herself. I’m not saying women need to act like their kids don’t exist but they also can’t have them attached to the hip forever either. A parent who smothers their children will createcodcodependent, unproductive adults. Since kindergarten I’ve been able to play independently andddevelop friendships

            • Lee on May 19, 2016 at 7:01 pm

              Unfortunately what you have written is a full parallel for how i was treated. I haven’t had a relationship with my father for over 5 years, due to him always putting my needs, and interests 2nd. This was my situation, my mother passed in our home from cancer when i was 12 over my summer holiday, and not a year latter my dad started to date. He met a women who was 40 at the time and began to spend all of his time with her, if i wanted to just have a one on one with him, his new women just had to be there. From going out to eat, to trips, and hobbies i was second to her. I tried to deal with the fact that it seemed that for all of his habbits of promising to love and protect me from the monsters, under my bed, to being my rock, to simply being my dad, i had become irrelevant. I knew he loved her so i kept quiet for his his sake. When it finally seemed like he had noticed me, and my distance simply her calling, walking in, or just saying she was going to the store, swept him away. Eventually i couldn’t take it anymore so i just quietly packed my things and left while he was having dinner with her. And i havent gone back or had contact with my dad scene.

            • Diana on June 3, 2016 at 1:20 pm

              Amen, David!

            • Sarah on June 19, 2016 at 8:11 pm


            • unknown on July 28, 2016 at 5:31 pm

              David u are spot on and people should always remember u is going to take care of them when thd kids is old enough to date or get married are they going to push aside their spouse or family for the parent

            • Jennifer on July 31, 2016 at 11:43 am

              David, I don’t disagree with you so, why did you address me? This blog is weird because it is confusing with who says what to whom.

            • MsTruth on March 20, 2018 at 12:20 am

              Thank you! You sound like an excellent father! This doting and indulging and child worship trend is what has created the young millienial narcissist epidemic!

          • Sarah on June 19, 2016 at 8:01 pm

            Agree totally. I’m no expert but in the past I have felt like I have come second as a daughter and as a partner in this regard, both of which hurt me deeply. This is why I believe there is a time and a place for the partner and the children. Everyone should be important. I don’t believe Emma is saying to ditch your kids but reminding single parents to ensure your partner feels loved and respected also. Its about how the situation is managed. Kids should get the love and attention and the support they need (not demand) from their parents, but at the same time not disregarding the needs and feelings of their partner.

            • s on August 29, 2017 at 9:53 am

              Emma has made a valid point which is correct. All relationships need to be balanced and given equal importance

          • lenna on June 15, 2018 at 12:47 pm

            your future spouse can leave you anytime too! Put your children first they are your blood, family, love is unconditional…but if you put boyfriends, lovers, new partners over them…you teach them that family love is not important. your children mostly likely will out live your new husband/lover…you will need your adult children one day more!

            • Mommbear on November 1, 2018 at 8:50 am

              Put your spouse last, and see how that works out at the end of the day. Guaranteed your spouse will end up leaving. Everyone…including the spouse should have time set aside for them. By putting your spouse on the back burner all the time, you are taking “family love” away from your children. You’re showing your children that relationships are disposable. Making children the centre of the universe all the time turns them into self centred human beings.

        • Joyce on May 3, 2016 at 12:16 am

          I so agree. I have a fiancé of 3 years now. He gets so offended if we are even hanging out on the couch talking & one of my kids interrupts to talk about anything!!! I find it childish & selfish. We were raised very differently & that’s playing a large role in our relationship I feel. Just tonight…. Laying in bed talking… My teenage daughter is distraught about breaking up with her boyfriend… Instead of being at all concerned… He throws a lil fit like a 10 yr old & grabs his charger, pillow & goes to the couch! Who is the adult here?!!! Any comments??’

          • Emma on May 4, 2016 at 2:29 pm

            Sounds like you need to make some hard decisions.

          • Jenn on June 12, 2016 at 8:27 pm

            Is the child sick? No? Then anything else isn’t an emergency. Boundaries need to be set or else kids will ruin your relationship.

            • Emma on June 13, 2016 at 11:20 am


      • Dan on May 19, 2016 at 2:13 pm

        This is too far left for any Conservative mentality even moderate

        The kids always come first and tell the parents job is done they are raising future adults and if they’re not careful their kids will be just like them giving up and becoming single parents and doing the same thing over again. It’s extremely important you raise your kids properly with the emphasis in marriage and family. I never put my dating first and my kids are much better off than the other broken families that were raised around them

        • Trish on June 3, 2016 at 3:27 pm

          David, I am a Christian And hold those values, like sexual purity, and courtship rather than dating in the secular sense. Those values are important to me as well and I understand where you are coming from. I don’t agree with everything in this article. However, there is a nugget of truth in it that might help some folks that have gotten off balance during a very challenging season of their lives. Mainly , that children of divorce shouldnt run your life live, or be your world. That is not good for them, or you. Yes, met their needs ,but be the parent, not a peer. Nor a replacement for the missing spouse relationship.

          I was a single parent for years and not, ” dating around” due to wanting to lead an upright life and not expose my children to different men until I was certain that God was leading it. I think , looking back, I made the mistake of relying too heavily on my children to meet my emotional needs, and this gave them a distortioned view of their importance. Not only that, but it can be stressful for them to grow up feeling that their parent needs them for companionship. It’s common, I think. I did allow God to do a lot of healing and went into codependency recovery, but it was a long process. Sometimes, when the kids are all you have, and you don’t, for whatever reason have other emotionally healthy adult relationships, this can happen.

          I remarried two years ago, to a man with adult children, one of whom lives with us. He also is a Christian with similar values similar story of redemption. Just be aware, when God brings you that special lady, to let your children know, no matter what age they are, that she, your wife, comes first. God first, then her, then them. If your children are used to your elevating them to “most important ” in your life, then suddenly, that is challenged, be prepared for serious tension.

          They will, and always will be your children. You love them deeply. You would give your life for them. You do want to do the best parenting job you can, given their ages and stage of development. However, as they grow up , they are supposed to grow up, find their own spouse and make a life apart from you. Your wife will be there as a lover, best friend, companion for the rest of your life. It’s a bond that supersedes the parent relationship, as important as this is, is not meant to take the place of a spouse relationship. God intended for the bond between husband and wife to last forever.

          I pray that you continue to be a caring and responsible dad, putting God first, and working on your ability to form and sustain healthy adult relationships. I know it’s very lonely and temptations are many, but continue to pray for a wife. I hope someday you will remarry and remember this post. You don’t have to forsake your children to give attention, value and honor to a new woman. You just prioritize her. The kids might not like it, they may not like her, but your showing her respect, deference, will speak volumes about the importance of a wife and the place of honor she holds in your life. Having not had to share you for however long it has been, will create struggles for them, as they adjust to the new situation, but God will help you all as you adjust. If you side with them while having power struggles, you alienate the one person you vowed to live as one with for the rest of your life, and that just isn’t wise.
          Your children are blessed to have a father who cares so much about them. It’s Godly to want a wife ; he who finds one finds a good thing.
          May you be blessed in the finding.

          that as a single parent, you must be sacrificial and place the welfare of your children as paramount, God also doesn’t want us to place them on a petastal. Giving them that power is not good for them and also prevents God from perhaps moving you into another marriage.

          • Jennifer on July 31, 2016 at 11:45 am


            That was so well written. Thank you!

      • Dan on May 19, 2016 at 2:19 pm

        Emma’s mentality about marriage and relationships is very disturbing. She comes across as the typical millennial who feels entitlement and self-serving is number one priority. For this reason alone she never should’ve become a parent in the first place. I would never consider dating a woman with the mentality that Emma house if I had 1234 kids to raise. Those kids come first no matter what because your relationship with them for the rest of your life with their lives matters more than any temporary relationship you can hopefully promise yourself with another person of the opposite sex or the same-sex for that matter

      • A C Powell on June 6, 2016 at 11:28 am

        What?!? Do you know Emma personally?

      • Lirpa on June 12, 2016 at 12:40 pm

        This is awful! Sorry but no parent married or divorced should put their partner before their own child! As a teen my mother always put my stepfather first. Guess where that led me? Living with a boy at 16 and I starting drinking because I felt unloved and unworthy of a mother’s love. My dad had a new family he started yet he stepped up to the plate and took me in and loved and supported me. I am forever grateful I had my dad who know how to be a parent. Today as a recently divorced mother of 2 teen boys their father has chosen to put his girlfriend first! They never see him or spend time with him. The few times they do she has to be there. God forbid the kids want alone time to go fishing with their dad or talking privately about guy advice, etc… Guess how my son’s are doing? One is starting to be resentful towards their dad and the other doesn’t say much but his grades are going down and he’s starting to get depressed. This leaves me as a full-time mother trying to be a mom and dad to them so they have at least one parent in their lives. I make sure they are loved, fed, clothed, warm and supported in every way. There’s NO reason a parent can’t put their child ahead of their own needs for now. They are kids once….We as adults have a lifetime to be in a relationship. Partners can come and go. Kids are your flesh and blood. Priorities.
        (I’m not saying a parent should drop everything and run home from their date because the kid is having a tantrum about bedtime. That’s a little extreme.)

        • Lost on January 20, 2018 at 10:03 am

          It’s funny how the majority of those commenting that the relationship comes first are still together. The ones arguing that the children come first are single parents for that reason. I believe a strong healthy relationship should be the foundation. Everything else should follow.

          • Mommbear on November 1, 2018 at 8:56 am

            Agree 100 percent.

      • Sunny on June 23, 2016 at 8:22 pm

        It’s okay because when she’s old, her kids won’t be taking care of her because she didn’t put her kids first. :)

        • Marie on September 27, 2016 at 9:55 pm

          I’ve done nothing but put my kids first…and I’m quite sure I’ll be taking care of myself when I’m old

      • Kevin Glaser on July 13, 2016 at 12:42 pm

        While agree, I am a man who is marrying in one month to a woman with two children. We have them alternating weekends. However, I agree that the relationship goes first and kids second. We are expecting soon with a child of our own, and without my fiancee, the child would have no support. I would promote a healthy relationship of selflessness, compassion, and fidelity to be an example to the children, rather than be second to children who in a couple of years are no longer part of a decree. People say “Children are Blessings” while that is true to healthy relationships but “Children are not blessings” based on how they were raised situations of divorce.

        P.S. We are not marrying because of the child.. She is early 1st trimester and we have dated 3 years and in our mid 30’s

      • Shalonda on December 17, 2017 at 8:53 pm

        Hey I totally agree, when my kids got grown, they told me that their mates and spouses came before me and that was that. They Love me very much. But will not let anyone ruin their happiness even me. I am now dating a younger guy and he has a 5 year old and he always make time for him, and make sure he has the best gifts possible but when it comes to me although he does things for me it’s a struggle. I never ask for anything from him because I am very self sufficient. I love to shop he took me on a 5 hour shopping spree with his son and expected me to just help him pick out Christmas Gifts all day. After he got what he needed for him he was ready to go. He will sit up and spend quality time with him. Take off from work to have his wknd every two weeks and will not ever take off a wknd for me. At first he would stay at his mom house the 3 days he would keep him. Now he is here every other wknd. The child has no connection to me and don’t talk to me at all when his dad is around. I wanna leave so bad just asking God for the strength. I am not happy most of the time. The sex is still ok. But he says that he is happy I just wanna know why I don’t feel like he does. Today he told me I’m not going to lie yes my son does come before you, I’m sorry that’s the way it is. I kinda knew that, but to hear it man.

        • MsTruth on March 20, 2018 at 12:39 am

          LEAVE HIM. If he can’t appreciate the essential value a woman has over his son, he’s creepy in the head.

          • MrTruth on April 6, 2018 at 12:42 am

            Ms Truth,
            As a single dad that has fought for my son’s life (literally), I find it hard to believe that you can say that. You seem delusional to me rather than speaking the truth. Sure relationships need to be given priority (all relationships not just one or the other), but you continue to sew discontent because you are salty to the core. I hope you never have kids or date a man that does, because you will just ruin them.

      • Anthony on May 9, 2018 at 3:30 pm

        Wow. What a load of crap. This just goes to show how neurotic women really are. When men don’t pay enough attention to their kids they are deadbeats. When they meet a man that actually wants to be a dad and make his kids a priority women bitch about that. Here’s an idea for an article Emma: I’m a Crazy Bitch That Will Never Be Happy

      • Kaity on December 25, 2018 at 11:33 am

        Right, she definitely sounds like a terrible mother. People with that mentality should never have children to begin with. She will regret it one day, if she lives until her elderly years, when her children throw her in the worst nursing home. Then she will wonder why they never visit. Maybe because of all the time she spent with these fly by night men that the relationship never worked out anyways. First of all chances are, your kids will be around much longer than any man, considering you treat them right. Second of all, even if you have a life lasting relationship, chances are your partner who is at the same age as you in the later stages of life won’t even be able to care for you. If you’re partner is younger, they don’t want to be changing their partners diapers.

    • Smally on December 25, 2015 at 11:50 pm

      My bf does not believe in this. We are together 6 years now, I never met his kid, only in the 6th year I met his family, his ex says she does not want the kid near me, and neither him nor her wants me meeting the kid. For his birthday, he is saying again, I cannot be invited, because the kid is planning it, a 9 year old Kid, I suggested that since I never got invited, I can come in the evening, he said no, the kid would have things planned for the evening too…..My gosh! Life is great yes, love this man, and do not know how to deal with this frustration!!!!

      • Tiffany on December 27, 2015 at 9:17 am

        It sounds to me like his ex is jealous and that may be her reason for not wanting you around the kids. I have been with my boyfriend for a year now he’s much older than me, I hate saying that bc it’s totally irrelevant to us but it does matter to society. But my actual point is we live together for about 6 months now and I have met his kids and get along great with them but when they come to the house I leave bc I know how much their time with dad means. So it does seem a little strange to me that you still haven’t met his kid. I’m 26 and my boyfriend is 55 his kids are 20, 19 and 15 so it was awkward no doubt the first time we met and when they first found out about me and my age but it’s necessary in a relationship that both people believe in.

        • Tiana on December 29, 2015 at 6:24 am

          Im also 26 and my partner is 52 weve been together for 3 years. He has 2 kids, both teenagers. Although at times they make me feel like utter rubbish, it would feel strange if my partner didn’t introduce us. He was very wary for a while and tried to play down our relationship when they were around. Dating a man with children is probably the hardest thing i’ve ever done in my life its even harder as his kids are spoiled and rude. Having said all of that, I would be extremely angry if i hadn’t had been introduced. I think if it is making you feel so down you may have to really question as to if the relationship is worth feeling like that as hes not opening up all of his world to you.

          • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 6:54 pm

            Your 26! You have daddy issues. Get a therapist instead.

            • Kate on March 19, 2016 at 4:45 am

              Jennifer, I’ve noticed how judgmental you are in so many of your comments. Get over yourself and visit your own therapist!!

      • Allie on January 3, 2016 at 1:30 am

        Wow that’s bs
        After 3 years you r still not invited
        Dumb the jerk
        That’s total bs

      • Tania on February 7, 2016 at 7:32 am

        Smally get out! six years and your relationship hasn’t progressed, how much longer do you have to wait before your life with him can actually begin! I’m sorry but hes being selfish to just expect you to hang around in the background til it suits him x

        • Emma on February 8, 2016 at 12:59 pm


      • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 10:21 am

        Get out! Get a life , self esteem and a backbone.

      • Cathy on April 6, 2016 at 2:51 pm

        You’re nuts

      • TheMessenger on April 25, 2016 at 11:03 pm

        Leave this poor man’s family alone you trifling whore.

        • MsTruth on March 20, 2018 at 12:40 am

          U love your kids more than a partner then youre a pedo

          • MrTruth on April 6, 2018 at 12:49 am

            Yet again, salty af. Are you for real or just a troll? My bet is you haven’t crawled out from underneath of your bridge yet. Please stay there troll.

    • suef on January 28, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      Take note that somehow this story has been twisted from being about single parents to being about single fathers that neglect women… key into a search engine anything about single parent and you will find the majority of information available is for women. Unfortunately most discussions end up becoming a rant session for women that feel hard done by.

      • Emma on January 29, 2016 at 8:52 am

        That is because the far, far majority of absentee parents are fathers. Not rocket science.

        • RonRon RRoRonn on February 6, 2016 at 8:09 am

          Not by our own choice are we absentee fathers!!
          I call absentee fathering , every other weekend and 3 hrs on Wednesday . Oh, throw in a few ball games where you sit in the stands and “watch ” your kids but have no contact with them after. The court system seems to think this is just sufficient time to be a good father, couple that with an ex wife who just wants you to disappear and it’s a disaster , and I’ll catch hell for this , but I’m going to say 90% of “parental alienators” are woman. I’m just tired of divorced Dads being demonized .

          • Jennifer on February 8, 2016 at 10:44 pm

            This anger and resentment will be seen miles away by a secure healthy woman who will then run the other way.

          • TheMessenger on April 25, 2016 at 11:08 pm

            It is women that have desroyed the American family. Hell, only a woman could decide to abort a baby. Only a woman can cheat and then still get the house, the kids, alimony, child support. Only women. Selfish, greedy, whorish, narcissistic women are responsible for all of these single parent families. 70% of no fault divorce cases are initiated by women for no reason at all other then their own weekness and a wife and mother. You worthless wretches dont deserve a real man.

            • Amanda on May 17, 2016 at 12:47 pm

              Well you’re crazy

            • Jennifer on July 31, 2016 at 11:47 am

              To the Messenger,

              STOP choosing these types of women then!!!

            • JP on August 2, 2016 at 3:53 pm

              The Messenger, as you’re very far from ever being a real man, this is not a concern for you. Shoo back to the red pill forums now. You’re impressing no-one with your lunatic ravings here. People see you for what you really are.

            • Wendy on December 25, 2018 at 11:37 am

              You sound schitzophrenic. Also, maybe you should date men then, since women are so bad

          • JP on August 2, 2016 at 3:50 pm

            “Parental alienators” is a term invented by abusive woman-haters to justify why they weren’t granted custody of their kids, and why their kids don’t want to see them, diddums. Pretty idiotic of you to parrot a lie that’s already been debunked. You’re revealing your true abusive colors without even realising it. Run along now.

          • Annie on October 10, 2017 at 5:15 pm

            I agree with RonRon! My brother is being bullied by the ex wife. He tried so hard and wants to date but the ex and the 16, 20, & 22 yr-old kids are putting on the guilt trips and cussing him out. It’s so frustrating for him and he feels like he can never do anything right.
            Ex cheated on him and took him to the cleaners just to get his money and she manipulates the kids…they are so spoiled because she put them ahead of the relationship and uses them to hurt their dad.
            He adores his kids but they don’t respect him. It’s his turn to live his life now. He needs to stick up for himself with the ex, continue loving his kids, and go ahead and date. There has to be a balance!

        • MrTruth on April 6, 2018 at 12:58 am

          How about you tell that to my son’s mother? She put herself before our son and almost died from meth, got thrown into prison and still continues to put herself first, while i was the one there for my son, night and day while he was going through chemo. To this day, she has nothing to do with him. Your numbers might be correct but thats an insult to every man who has fought tooth and nail for their children’s future. By all means, please go out and tickle your fancy, but leave the insults towards honest men who care about their children’s wellbeing out of this.

    • Lisa on March 2, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      My sister was a single mom of two children and married the guy of her dreams. He molested her girls and she told them to forget it happened because she did not want to lose her husband. Husband was convicted of molestation and she moved on two man number 2 while she lost custody of her girls for covering it up. My niece committing suicide due to her mother putting her children second and the man first. Sister ended up marrying another man and wanted nothing to do with the other two kids conceived with the molestor. The kids again were in her way of finding happiness with a man. She would constantly drop the kids off so with my mother so she can have alone time with new man while we grieve over my neice. Ladies, a real man will accept you and your children. If u have to push your kids to the side for a man think about my neice cutting her wrist and dying of a broken heart. God bless you all.

    • Chris on March 8, 2016 at 5:45 am

      This blog is incorrect advice. This how children’s lives get ruined at the expense of adult relationships. The real issue is that single parents should never be put in a position where they have to prioritise children over girlfriend and vice versa. If it doesn’t work in a marriage or relationship post divorce then it never will, kids or no kids. People just need to relax and stop being so dependent on their own self importance.

      • Jenna on July 4, 2016 at 10:07 am

        I think this is spot on. There has to be a balance in romantic relationships and relationships with ones children. Most people are too black and white about it by putting their all into one and neglecting the other. That is why relationships fall apart. It is ok to miss a baseball game once in a while if you go more often than not. It is not ok to hire a babysitter during your scheduled time with kids – in fact it’s frowned upon by courts. It’s also not ok to take calls from a son who is upset about hockey while you’re on a date. To have healthy kids you need to teach them that while they are a top priority, they are not the center of the universe. Otherwise they will be in for a rude awakening when they leave home. I question the logic of moving a partner in and remarrying when the kids are adolescents. I think the kids canard mom or dad with a new partner without them having to become part of the family while you’re trying to raise them. Unfortunately, there are many people out there, male and female, who are jealous of their partners kids. Those are the people who you should run from. Romance is great but moving in together and remarrying can wait if your kids are of a certain age. There is a reason why more than 60% of second marriages end in divorce. No relationship is worth that stress. Have a romantic relationship, but keep it balanced- a priority but not before the children you had and quite frankly, the person who you had them with and who shares custody of them. That’s the other adult the kids care about, not your current gf or bf.

      • JP on August 2, 2016 at 3:54 pm

        No, dear. Every single parenting expert will tell you your partner needs to come before the kids. Actual experts. Not armchair experts in comment sections.

        • MsTruth on March 20, 2018 at 12:44 am

          As well as the Bible. All these self righteous parents with their “values”…yet they are divorced or having kids that are illegitimate; and go against the word that says a man shall love his woman as he does his god. Not the kids, the WOMAN. False christians on their libtard rants are in for a big surprise upon their deaths.

    • David on April 4, 2016 at 10:02 pm

      My soon to be ex wife would agree with this! I do not! She has already moved a stranger into her home, she met him online and the day they met he moved in. My girl she a room with mom though, this is wrong! I already knew her children before we got together but was still unsure about moving in. I did move in after a while as the outsider, but the kids seen that I helped focus mom on them and the needs they had! We were together for 9 years and had 2 girls together. I swear my girls will come first before anyone else, a relationship would be nice but my first priority is the happiness of the 2 girls! Of course mom asked them dont you want mommy to be happy? That is wrong, what kind of bs is she trying to teach my girls? Mommy needs a man in her bed to be happy! I think there’s a right way to go about being a single parent trying to date and a wrong way and putting the kid’s second is wrong.
      BTW I should be getting full custody of my girls in 2 weeks and I still have a good relationship with 3 of the 4 step children, they will always be my boys!

    • Vivi on May 7, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Fantastic real advise…thank you and why my parents and their dynasty is in their 66 year of marriage.

    • Marie Perez on June 9, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Beautiful article. If you are a Christian it’s Biblical to put God first and in the center of your marriage so the order is God, spouse, children. It’s very sad to see how many families end up broken they re marry and it repeats all over again due to the inability to prioritize what has already been instructed. I see this all the time and the sad thing is people fail to realize that kids grown up get married and start their own lives and that’s how you end up with the empty nest syndrome. If you are Blessed to be in the same committed relationship the children are an add on to your marriage a Blessing to the marriage a product of your love for each other you should still however put your spouse first. (NEVER STOP DATING) that is the recipe for a healthy home and healthy and well balanced marriage. Blended families are extremely difficult I believe I’ve spoken with many women that have struggled and literally have ended up with a broken marriage due to the step children and the difficulties that come along with it. Very wise and truthful article. God Bless you.

    • Keash on June 18, 2016 at 9:30 pm

      I think this is a good post, emphasis on the relationship and in turn being able to share that love and commitment trickling through the whole family. It can provide a stable secure environment for children and teach them good relationship skills. I don’t think that this post means your spouse is supposed to be your sole and only person in the family you concentrate on and give attention and love. You should be able to balance family life much better when you and your spouse are on the same page and getting what you need from the relationship. Too often do people think thAt putting your children after your spouses needs in a relationship means to neglect them?, I guess if you think that putting your commitments as a partner first is a terrible thing and you must be a horrible person then you should not commit yourself to a relationship and stick to your children.

    • Tammy on July 27, 2016 at 10:01 am

      Parents need too take notes!! Lol. Good idia. Lol if your anything like the man I was with!! His kids are grown adults. Drop outs. Daughter pregnant. Still 8 years later. Still in same position!! Myself. I say ofcourse if you have a tight loving family. Like mine!! My 4 adult kids graduated. Some too collage!! Good jobs. Have homes!! Normal!! We laugh. Visit. Kids come first! Yes when they were baby’s. Structure!! Bottom line!! Respect!!! You parents want your kids too come first. That’s so beatifull!! Me too!!!! Know that they are grown up. Have a life too!! You would think they would be happy for you! Unless you like that your grown kids need your bank account. You feeling guilty about something you did or didn’t do!! Yes a lot of parents use that!! Past!! Move on. So true!! Did my best for my kids! No guilt here. Only guilt I had was waiting too long. All should be happy!! Mainly if you have adult kids. Sadly enough my ex will always provide for his. Never too hold down a job. Live with parents with their kids. Pays for their covage. His grandkids. His phone never stopped ringing!! Too the point. I got too hear it. Then will turn it off for days. Guess for a break. You parents that want too carry your kids forever!! And your divorced!! Very much agree. Let your new partner now!! Mainly if still caring for your adult kids and theirs!! It will be never ending!! That way no one is waiting their time!!

    • poopy face on October 16, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      I am ten years old and my mum is putting me second and its ruining our relationship. And she breaks up with them that week and she makes me used to them and get to like them. I hate it she broke up with one 2 days.And I found her on tinder this morning. I also found nude photos on her phone. And it does scar me when I see my mother expressing sexuality

      • MsTruth on March 20, 2018 at 12:45 am

        Ten years old my ass

    • Scarlet on October 16, 2017 at 4:54 pm

      My own opinion…this whole thing is a piece of sh*t…children needs their parents to guide, comfort and be there for them. Your partner can find someone else to put him/her first and you can find someone who needs to understand your children needs you more but your children have only one mom and dad they have no chance of getting attention and being put first from other parents…this is the most important time of their life to have someone to guide them…don’t throw it away for someone you met…it will make your children feel worthless and unimportant for seeing their own parent they have know their whole life, chooses someone else.

    • Adriana on January 28, 2018 at 11:19 am

      Err NOPE! I am a single mom and I would never date a guy who won’t put his kids first before me. What it would be if I have more kids with him???

    • Shannon on February 28, 2018 at 2:43 am

      Actually I don’t think single mums should date when they have young children at all – note this is coming from a single mum .
      Research out there shows disturbing results not to mention. The non genetic factor can and sometimes come into play with devastating effects. Children are well adjusted when the are safe and physical and emotional needs are meet your time is better spent on that rather than justifying your entitlement to date and fiful your own needs or perhaps insecurities. This is not judgemental this is my personal opinion and it has paid off for me i have a wonderful marriage now I had the time to invest guilt free once my children were raised 17 my youngest . Let’s be real your children need you and you will never regret putting them first. Trust me as a social worker and a degree in psychology majoring in human behaviour- it’s not worth the risk

    • Bella on March 1, 2018 at 6:50 pm

      Kids should ALWAYS come FIRST especially if your a single mother I get wanting to be happy and what not but at the end of the day your children should ALWAYS matter before any boyfriend or girlfriend you have.! There your children you chose to have then and it’s your responsibility to take care of them. And what’s worse is if your relationship puts your child in danger like he or she abuses them or anything you should protect your child not blow it off and you should definitely not neglect them. These things could leave really bad physical are mental issues grow up and into adult hood soo I completely disagree children always come first no matter what!

    • Brandy Collins on June 4, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      I think you are a very selfish women…. One thing about it that man might leave you but your kids will always be there… My mother didn’t put me first and I therefore grew up with very low confidence from feeling unloved… So if you want your kids to not care about you when you get old then keep it up… Wow some people are so ignorantly arrogant…

    • Jeannie on July 19, 2018 at 3:13 pm

      I have been dating a wonderful man for over a year now, and I am in love with him. He has four daughters and I have two daughters and one son from previous marriages. His daughters do not want anything to do with me. I recently met his youngest daughter and she was very nice. Last night we went on a date and she was home with her sitter. She texted him all night long wondering when he is coming home. My children have met him and really like him. He puts his girls first and has spoiled each one of them. They are all daddy girl’s and don’t respect his needs and wants. I am just confused right now and not certain where this is going?

    • Amy on July 26, 2018 at 10:46 pm

      I agree to a point. My boyfriend and I have been dating for over 10 years he has a daughter who is 16 and she makes all the rules in our home it’s very awkward and we all stay distant because of it half the time I feel on eggshells in front of her. If it was him and I we would be making decisions that would be best for everyone as I love her like she is my own as well. Now I am pregnant with my first daughter and very worried at how it’s going to play out. She already says what she is and isn’t going to do with my kid and she tries to tell us what’s best for our child as if we wouldn’t know. And any name my boyfriend and I like she disagrees with so we always have to change it. I even offered her the middle name because she didn’t like the first name, she was happy for two days then decided she hated the spelling of the first name and wants the middle name so now my boyfriend demands I change the spelling. I know this whole situation is off and I don’t know the best way to bring all of us together I pray and I know things will eventually work out but I would love advice in this. I put his daughter first in our relationship and him as well to the point that everything we do and plan has to go by her first and if she doesn’t like it then we will not do it if I like something but she doesn’t he demands we change it. I have lost my voice almost completely So yes I agree with this article adults should come first to build a strong ground of guidance for their children to grow and be happy as a family.

    • Maria Bartolemeau on August 24, 2018 at 6:53 pm

      The author of this article should write a book called: How To Be Single Forever With Only Cats As Friends, because that’s what her advice leads to.

    • Sarah on November 12, 2018 at 4:46 pm

      I believe The type of relationship you have with your partner now, determines your children’s belief in  their relationships for life.

    • Ridiculous Article on January 5, 2019 at 10:35 pm

      how terrible to promote either going to work or staying home. mothers should do what fulfills them until it no longer does, and they should do what works for their families. And what if a marriage isn’t “respectful and loving”? They’re already not a good model to their children, but they should put each other first? and the ridiculous idea that dating should come before a child. Any child from a single home can tell you the emotional scars of a revolving door of men or women and hearing your parent have sex in another room. Children should come first until there is a viable long term partner so that children have the example of inconsistency.

  2. Harry Bosch on January 31, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    The hockey coach thing was ridiculous.

    But think about it…most divorced guys spent a bloody fortune on a divorce that – statistically – was most likely initiated by the wife. Some of those guys were lucky enough to get joint custody, others got stiffed by a judge who gave them every other weekend, and most of them had to split the assets with the ex.

    Most of them had been putting their wives first, drifted away from friends over the years, and look where it got them.

    If I were to divorce while my kids are still minors, any woman will be second to them, and a distant second at that.

    • Mitzi on February 28, 2015 at 11:54 pm

      Let’s be real. If a man were putting his wife first, the chances of divorce are dramatically decreased. Even so, men and women need to get over their pasts and give respect to the person they select instead of punishing them for the ex’s behavior.

      • sara on January 5, 2016 at 5:43 am

        I’m 28 and i have been dating my bf for a year this coming sunday. He has a 5 year old son, who I think is great and enjoy spending time with. I usually don’t see my bf during the week because our work schedules can be crazy. When we first started dating he spent more one on one time with me through out the week. I spend my weekends at his house with his son. Sometimes on Fridays we get alone time, but usually it is all three of us. I feel bad even saying I want more alone time with him because I don’t want him to feel like he has to choose between me and his son. He is a loner so Before we started dating his son consumed his whole life and I feel like he doesn’t know how to balance a relationship and his son. I asked him what we were doing for our anniversary and he said he had his son this weekend, basically meaning we were doing nothing. I feel like he has gotten comfortable with the fact that me and his son have a great relationship and forgets I need adult time too. Am I being selfish?

        • Bob on March 17, 2016 at 10:08 pm

          Stop being selfish. He is doing the right thing

          • MsTruth on March 20, 2018 at 12:47 am

            Nope he’ll end up dying alone, miserable and lonely. Wait and see. You will too, Dumbass

          • Sarah May Humphreys on November 12, 2018 at 4:51 pm

            No she is not being selfish. He needs to learn how to balance his commitments to his son and to her. A real man can take care of his children and his significant other.

        • Amanda on May 17, 2016 at 12:56 pm

          No but you guys might need to take vacation time at work

        • Marie Perez on June 9, 2016 at 10:47 am

          You are not being selfish. It’s Biblical. God, spouse, children. You sound like such a caring and sweet lady. It is healthy for a couple to spend time alone without the children. God Bless you.

          • Joe Gerich on October 16, 2016 at 2:29 pm

            I like that. God, spouse, children. I’m going to use the approach as I start to date again.

      • Julie on January 7, 2016 at 11:12 am

        Great point.

      • Ann on January 25, 2016 at 5:28 pm


      • Diamond on July 8, 2016 at 1:00 am


    • janett on April 28, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      thats probably why your single

    • Danielle M on June 29, 2015 at 11:20 am

      Well, good luck keeping an intimate, mature, equal, adult relationship going. Guess you’ll be single for a long time. Why can’t parents realise that these two loves are different? Just don’t treat your children like a partner and your partner like a (disowned) child and you’ll be fine. It isn’t a competition but so many thoughtless partners make it one. Your spouse is your spouse, your children are your children. You are capable of loving both and then everyone wins. Why does everyone think that these loves are mutually exclusive – they are not!! Just treat your spouse with respect, affection and a little thoughtfulness when you are with your kids and try not to lick your kids boots – its nauseating! Kids need a loving parent, not a pushover sycophant.
      My husband asks his 15 year old daughter if she is ok every 5-10 minutes, then checks in on me as an afterthought because he realises how uneven he is being. As I’m newly pregnant, tired and nauseous, you think he might show a little consideration. I get he loves his daughter and dotes on her and he’s a great Dad. Just don’t expect a reasonably self-respecting woman to like walking behind you two cuddling like lovers, or eating her lunch while you both get up and walk away, or the two of you walking off repeatedly whilst in Paris when you promised not to, or you singing her name repeatedly, or paying too much child support, etc etc etc. If we hadn’t moved overseas I would have left him as I hate being spoken down to when she’s around. His coolness towards me and his over the top affection for her cannot help but leave me feeling rejected, alone and replaced. How does this help me feel love towards them? How does it create a family unit? My mistake for thinking he could love us both in a balanced way. I just do my own thing now and leave them to it. Not a good way to maintain your marriage though so I wouldn’t recommend it. Balance people, its all about balance!!

      • ELSIE on July 22, 2015 at 10:49 am

        Wow. I feel for you. My husband has a 13 year old son but he doesn’t put him first. He always makes me feel loved, included, and important. When his son had a slightly snotty phase with me and tried to make me feel excluded too, I spoke to my husband about it openly and calmly. My husband then spoke to his son (in private – which was wise of him) calmly but firmly. The behavior stopped. His son tried to push the boundaries again a few months later, but my husband told his son (again privately) that I’m an adult and he must treat me with respect, just as he must treat his teachers and other adults with respect, and he must also be polite and say “thank you” when I do things for him (like cook him a meal, etc.) His son’s snotty behavior stopped to my relief. We are kind and respectful in our home. Our marriage does come first. We are having a baby now, and I am currently reading a book called “To Have Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First” because I believe that a strong, loving, healthy marriage makes a secure home for a child. If we don’t have a strong, positive, loving marriage, how would his son (or our daughter) feel if we were to divorce? It took his son a few years to get used to me. If we don’t put our marriage first – we would lose the cornerstone of our home and family, (the bedrock of our family!) So thank God my husband does put our marriage first, and you can see by our home being peaceful and thankfully free of the kind of unfairness, step-mom bashing, or other madness that I hear about in so many stepfamilies. Frankly, his son seems happier when we are happy together. He seems more relaxed and relieved when we are happy and peaceful in our marriage. I guess he knows all is well. My husband and his ex-wife had no relationship at all for 10 years. They didn’t fight, but they didn’t talk, hug, kiss or even share a bedroom. They stayed together for their son, and finally split when he was 10.
        I wouldn’t have married my husband if he had behaved how your husband does. You deserve better. And before people on this site bash me for being an selfish step-mom, be aware that I do plenty of nice things for this boy, like making his favorite – my homemade chicken soup, which I spend hours picking meat from bones and making it from scratch, and I do it in the darn summer, because he loves my soup so much and always asks for it. I don’t even eat soup in the summer, just make it for him. So, we nourish him and we care about him, but he doesn’t rule our home, we don’t pay homage to him, and when our baby is born, same goes for her. They are members of a loving family, not reigning princesses or princes who’s every whim is put above and before the adults’ needs. I wish you luck in your situation. Please speak up for yourself calmly, and don’t be afraid to. And don’t kiss the daughter’s ass as your husband is clearly doing. The situation is clearly dysfunctional, but a very common stepfamily dynamic. No the stepkid shouldn’t come first, but frankly, our own kid won’t come first. The marriage, and the family UNIT comes first. Today’s kids are way too spoiled, and children of divorce are often even more so, due to parental guilt, which is understandable, but is all too often mishandled by spoiling, overindulging, etc.

        • Emma on July 23, 2015 at 8:57 am

          Thanks for this perspective – I love hearing from conscientious step-parents who always lend a really interesting and important perspective to the divorced-families challenges and joys.

        • Karen on September 25, 2015 at 11:05 am

          I totally agree with you! My daughters father is newly dating a younger woman and totally ignores our daughter. He works, comes home, showers and goes to his girlfriends or goes to bed. It irritates me that he doesn’t make the time to have a day to spend with our daughter. Any suggestions on how I can get over this and be ok? I’ve confronted him over this and his reply is he wants to have a life, but he’s never made time for our daughter and I think it’s important for him to include her in on activities and gradually get her use to this new relationship.

          • Emma on September 25, 2015 at 11:21 am

            Well, one don’t assume you can change someone else, ever. But maybe start from a place of compassion. “I’m worried about our daughter. How can I support your relationship with her?” But it sounds like he just never got it, so probably never will.

            Then you let go of any notions of controlling him, and move on.

        • s roy on September 25, 2015 at 6:12 pm

          why do you people take children…… plz don’t have children if you think you can treat children like second class citizen….. nobody ask you to have children if you can’t pput frist in your life ……don’t be stupid like author!!!!!!

          • William on November 25, 2015 at 5:46 pm

            I agree it sounds like the author is very emotionally demanding which can be very physically straining on any relationship no man wants to have to choose this children over his woman just like a real man wouldn’t expect a woman to choose him over her kids I’m in the same situation right now and its f****** Old a very old it’s so bad to the point where my kids can’t even come around anymore because she gets so jealous because I spend my time or some of my time towards them you’re not going to f****** die women if your man who has children with another woman chooses to spend some time with his children if he’s with you all week and you get to spend time with him all week one day out of that week should be reasonable to devote to his kids without getting any childish backlash or jealousy sounds to me like the author is a little selfish and self-centered when you’re in a relationship and you have kids you can’t choose yourself over your own kids

            • Chad on December 31, 2015 at 12:11 pm

              AMEN!!!!! In the same situation myself

          • ally on December 4, 2015 at 11:42 am

            And putting them before everything and everyone else is no way to maintain a healthy marriage. Treating children like children and not constantly kissing their asses would solve a lot of problems. Tell me, at what point does a person stop being precious. People have a tendency to say that children are precious but u never hear that of adults. Why is that? Maybe its because we perceive everything that they do, when they are rude, obnoxious little assholes even, as not their fault-even when they are capable of understanding their actions. When adults are assholes, they are just assholes, but when a kid is an asshole, they are going through something. If we held children accountable for their actions, there would probably be a lot fewer assholes in the world.

            • anne-marie on January 4, 2016 at 9:37 am

              Bravo. At last someone who makes sense!

          • Misterbluedevil on January 7, 2016 at 9:55 pm

            WOW. . . Just wow. . . Oh and rude. . Oh and one more thing –

          • Bob on March 17, 2016 at 10:10 pm

            Agree 110%

        • DebbieDD on September 30, 2015 at 3:09 pm

          Wow, I am very impress with your post. I support you 100%. I just broke up with my fiancé because he told me his daughter comes before me.

          • DGGould on November 3, 2015 at 10:35 pm

            And so she should be his 1st Priority! Are you that selfish to think that you should prioritize over and above a Child? Clearly…some of you Women have lost your Humanity! I seriously pity you!!!

            • MB on December 2, 2015 at 1:32 pm

              I agree with you, DGGould…the selfishness is unbelievable. Maybe I’m a bit biased because I WAS the unwanted stepchild who was pushed aside by an abusive stepfather, who felt that HIS needs were more important.
              And my mother, bless her heart, allowed him to treat me badly and she put him first in every situation. It showed me that I didn’t matter.

              Emma does make a few valid points about making time for one’s partner. But what people need to understand is that ADULTS choose to be in relationships with people who have children. The kids usually don’t have much of a say about anything because hello! They’re still KIDS.

              If you (general “you”) don’t want to come second, maybe you should try dating somebody without kids? Just a thought. Because otherwise you will resent that child and they will KNOW it. They will know that you see them as a burden or a brat standing in the way of your happiness.
              With these selfish people, it’s all about them.

              They can’t see that the kid might be acting out due to sadness or fear or anxiety in a situation where they have no control.
              They can’t see that maybe the kid might actually NEED the parent to be focused on them…giving them love, attention, support, and anything a kid needs to grow into a healthy person.

              Men who are there for their children? That should be applauded, because it is rare. I’m not saying that anyone should be a “helicopter” parent smothering their kids.
              But to expect somebody to put YOU and YOUR needs above that of their child? Um, no. You either accept that they are trying to raise their kids to the best of their ability or you find somebody who is child-free.

            • ells on December 14, 2015 at 9:55 pm

              DGG, it’s about being ranked. I’m a single mother who was recently dating a single dad who was very keen to establish emotional intimacy very quickly, gave all signs of wanting something committed, and then backed out, saying a relationship is not a priority: kids, work and football come first. Having a child should not preclude a commitment to a partner. If it does, that’s your choice obviously, but then you shouldn’t be in a relationship with someone to the point where you are engaged. DebbieDD, spot on. I’m so sorry for your loss, and I think it’s absolutely immature of your ex to put it like that. There are situations where a child will come first, as will a partner. The love for each is different.

            • Jane on June 2, 2016 at 5:48 pm

              I agree, the children come first. There is too much child sexually abuse and neglect going on. If your spouse is letting the kids walk all over you and they know your issue.You need to leave. Also, if the relationship started as an affair; you need to be understanding. The stepparent or parent is building a relationship from the ashes of betrayal in this cause. The child my not respect you, remember respect is earned. You may need to spend sometime with the child and this includes adult children. Do something together and buy them something. Show them you are not a narcissist and care.

            • Trish on June 3, 2016 at 4:34 pm

              First priority does NOT mean that the children are ignored, neglected, or in any way abused to meet the needs of the woman. It simply means that she is honored and given a position of respect in the home . Of course, every situation is different. If the child is harmed and needs to go to the hospital, that person is priority. If the children need or want to spend some time with their dad alone on a child- father date, great , let them go. It also depends on how old the children are and what level of supervision they need to be healthy.

              If a woman, a reasonable woman, is feeling threatened it could be because she somehow is given the impression she isn’t prioritized. There may be valid reasons she feels this way However, if she never lets you see your children, that is a good reason to stop seeing her. That isn’t reasonable. , not
              There isn’t any easy answer here because everyone is in a unique situation with many various factors and personalities. It would be lovely if we lived in a world where every child grew up with their biological mom and dad that loved each other and placed the children in their secure spot as children, taking care of their needs as children, not competing with children.

              Divorce is not good. Pick your spouse wisely and do not have premarital sex. You can avoid a lot of issues that cause people pain.

          • William on November 25, 2015 at 6:12 pm

            Most men say that meaning, hey if my child is sick or hurt and we’re in the middle of having a romantic dinner, we’re going to stop what we’re doing, and rush them to the hospital, not push them second and say hold on will finish eating and then I’ll go take care of any important issue….. if you had your own kids with another man you want him expect him to treat them that way would you? No you wouldn’t! If you had your own child and she was injured or hurt and needed to be taken to the hospital and no one else was around to do it you would stop the dinner too I believe that’s all your ex husband was trying to say not put you second completely, but letting you know that hey, I do have other people in this world to pay attention to other than just you

          • Chad on December 31, 2015 at 12:15 pm

            Man, you should really reread what you just wrote. So you just kick open the door and scream Debbie’s here, all others to the back of the line? Lol. You are disposable, his daughter isn’t. He made the right choice and saved himself a lifetime of drama with a jealous insecure woman.

        • Natalie on November 11, 2015 at 5:59 pm

          You are so right, I’m struggling a it as we don’t get much private time, he is so loving tho, we kiss and cuddle but very rarely get quality time. I have two sons in their 20s he has 18 yr old daughter, 15 yr old son and a 7 year old daughter. The 18 year old lies but is also very mixed up and he’s not addressing the issues, 15yr old son and 7year all is good, with my two sons all is good. We are sticking together regarding the 18year old showing a united front but it grinding me down, as the strops and tantrums aren’t stopping, he doesn’t want to talk to her as all it is,is lies, but I feel this won’t make the problem go away. I love him so much, he’s so amazing and treats me so right. Any advice would be so helpful

        • Carrie on January 23, 2016 at 9:49 am

          Awesome!!!! You go Girl!!!! Right on!!!!


        • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 10:26 am

          Wow! Thank you!

        • Trish on June 3, 2016 at 4:15 pm

          You are a wise woman, who has a wise husband. It’s a blessing how you both are able to adjust so smoothly. i am so glad you shared this. All children, no matter what age, know instinctively that should show respect to their elders. Your discussing it calmly and privately explained what you saw to your husband, he took care of it like a man. It also showed respect for him.

          He didn’t take a defensive stance, but considered your feedback, because he respected your viewpoint. That was mature of him. Not every man has that level of maturity. In some cases, the natural parent does not acknowledge the , “snotty ” behavior. In fact, they may have no idea what you are talking about.

          In some ways, not having another female figure around to be bounced back and fourth to, has been a gift to your family, as it introduces lots of other dynamics. God knows exactly what each family needs. Blessings on your blended forever family and with the addition of your new family member.

        • Sarah Humphreys on March 5, 2018 at 11:02 pm

          Very well said. I agree with you 100 percent

        • Sandyman on September 5, 2018 at 11:29 am

          My bf of a year broke up with me a week ago “because he needs to put his kids first” he has full custody of his 2 kids, the 9yr old I got on fine with but the 5yr old daughter spoke to me like sh*t, had no respect and was in general a nasty little mare- no matter how good I was to her and all the nice things I did with her, until on holiday a few weeks ago I got fed up with this behaviour and fed up of him smothering her and treating me like my feelings don’t matter. If I wanted alone time with him without either of our kids he said that was me saying they’re a hindrance etc when really I just wanted 1on1 with my partner! My daughter treated him with respect and was polite and I don’t understand how it’s asking too much for him to teach his daughter the correct way to behave towards another adult, his kids don’t see their mum and had a rough start in life with her, and his excuse to me was basically along the line of the daughter has free reign to behave however she wants no matter how terrible because of how their mum neglected them and i should basically like it or lump it. He will never teach his kids what a healthy relationship is and mould them into decent adults if he makes his daughter behave in such a way, its not healthy. Her terrible behaviour has been validated, and I feel sorry for the next girl he brings to their unit as she will be treated like crap too. My parents have been happily married for 42 years so I’ve grown up with a strong healthy example of a strong partnership. I would have loved his daughter to warm to me, but because they were removed from their mum they show signs of insecurities that they will loose their Dad too, no matter how hard I’ve tried to reassure them I won’t get in the way of their relationship with their Dad the daughter just behaves like she just wants her Dad to herself and not “share” my ex has made a rod for his back now as he will never have a fulfilling relationship with another woman because he can’t differentiate between being a good Dad and being a Good partner and felt he could only do one, not learn a healthy balance

        • Sarah May Humphreys on November 12, 2018 at 4:52 pm

          Amen Elsie. The type of relationship you have with your partner now, determines your children’s belief in  their relationships for life.

      • Lois on August 27, 2015 at 6:52 pm

        Hi. I don’t mean to disrespect, but the incidents you describe….sound very inappropriate to say the least. I know from dating someone who was way too close to his sister, and reading your post was making my stomach get a sick feeling (same as when I dated the guy with the sister thing). Since, I have learned to trust that gut feeling.

        I hope this is not the case for you, and that you can find truth, and enjoy a normal, healthy and balanced life.


      • T c on September 23, 2015 at 7:38 am

        Hearing you! How do you do it! My fiancé treats me so badly when his kids are with us. Admittingly it’s only school holidays. It’s the only time we argue! I dread this time! They play him against me and it works! I try and stay away but sometimes it can’t be helped! nothing I do is right! My cooking etc! It’s like I’m a maid to them! And money?!?! It’s a very expensive time! It grows on trees! And I still haven’t caught up by the next holidays!

      • laura on October 8, 2015 at 3:09 pm

        This is exactly the same for me. I am 37 weeks pregnant and have had nothing from him or his daughter. He tells me his daughter will be more of a priority as her mother is not capable of looking after their 11 year old. The fact he even tells her you come first etc and they hold hands and walk off. She speaks down at me and he does nothing . I feel alone and trapped when she is around like I have to go to another part of the house so that events like this do not occur. I can’t even sit on the sofa with him with out either her crying for him to get in to bed with her until she sleeps or for her to me invited in between us on the sofa.

      • Amanda on November 21, 2015 at 7:55 am

        Wow, i’m going thru the ssme exact situations and it’s kinda a relief to know i’m not crazy. My bf of 4 years and his daughter behave and treat me the same way as you described…like an outsider. I’ve tried everything. We have reg discysdions about this topic and he tells me i’m being “crazy” or “mental” when all i’m trying to do is get him to realize how unbalanced things really are. Thanks for posting your experience.

        • Emma on November 23, 2015 at 11:41 am

          Wow, sounds painful. He’s not going to change. Are you willing to put up with this indefinitely?

      • Matt on November 25, 2015 at 9:50 pm

        Sorry, but you are just wrong, when you decide to have kids you make a choice in that moment to put yourself second, that is just a fact. Those kids did not ask you, YOU asked them.

        I don’t think anyone suggests a parent must give into every single demand a child makes, but saying a boyfriend or girlfriend should be on equal, or even greater footing than your child is just plain disturbing.

        • MB on December 2, 2015 at 1:39 pm

          Agreed, Matt. I feel bad for the kids in most of these situations…they don’t ask to be in that position; the adults are the ones making all the decisions.
          The people who complain about their partners putting the kids (from previous relationships) first are showing their immaturity and selfishness. They CHOSE to be involved with a person who had children. What do they expect, that the kid should simply go away now that they are in the picture?

          Because that is honestly the vibe I’m getting. If they don’t want to come second to anyone, they would be better off finding somebody without children or responsibilities.

        • Lilly on January 6, 2016 at 10:50 am

          Yes, when you had kids you decided to put yourself second. YOU did that, not the person that would be your next partner, you decided that for them.

          I 100% believe that if a single parent wants to date they should do it with another single parent or not at all. If a single childless person wants to date a parent I feel it’s the parenst responsibility to turn them down. If you don’t you create a responsibility to your new partner. That responsibility being that they should suffer as little as possible from tour previous life and they should get the life as they would have had with another childless person. Meaning it’s your obligation to your partner, that you chose to make sure your children stay out of their lives. Every penny and every second you spent on your children after you decide to partner up with a childless person is a betrayal to that relationship and hurts your partner. Don’t even think about saying that they knew what they were getting into because they don’t. You can only know what it’s like when you’ve lived it. You should be wiser than to selfishly drag another person into that world of neglect and pain.

          Parents should just choose which of the two they find more important. Taking care of their children or having a relationship. You can’t have it both ways. I hope with all my heart that people who choose to have children stick by those kids and take care of them but if they are desperate for a relationship they should at least have the decensy to not burden another with their mistakes.

          • Emma on January 6, 2016 at 12:12 pm

            This stance is insanely narrow — there are plenty of success stories of childless people partnering with single parents. Life doesn’t have to be any more complicated than you make it.

            • Lilly on January 6, 2016 at 5:42 pm

              It’s not. I grew up with living with two psychologists. One specialized in family counseling directen towards stepfamilies and one specialized in children of divorce.

              Things get discussed around the dinner table. Not with actual names of course but facts and numers, absolutely. Over 60% of women who date men who have children fall into depression or get a burnout. More than 75% of women who date men who have children regret getting involved in it and I have seen dozens of suicides because of the exsistence of a partners children in what otherwise would have been very normal and good relationships. There was nothing wrong with the people who killed themselves except for the fact thet got involved with a parent.

              Divorce rates in second marriages are somewhere between 65-70%. Divorce rates in second marriages without children are only 15%, you do the math on how much chance a relationship with a parent is.

              People that created children should take their responsibilities and realize they’re horrible for dragging others down with them if those others don’t have children yet.

            • Lusina on June 15, 2018 at 1:02 pm

              No it isn’t. I didn’t choose my mother to pick a new man. I didn’t choose to be hit, and molested. She put him first, he saw that, after he got my mother pregnant and trapped her as they both wanted children of their own – I was no longer part of the family…I was the now “step-daughter” “the girl that just lives in the house” as my Half-brother used to say…he had 2 biological parents and I only had 1. He was 8 years younger than me…I ended up resenting him and beating him up because his father used to beat me, when his father called me names, I turned around and called my half brother names. I was not allowed to watch TV with them or go to family events, I could but he would have given me terrible looks and taunted me so I stayed in my room and starved. Mother didn’t care much she was too busy cooking and loving her “new family” One time when my mother and her newly created children went out, the man came up to me and raped me and said whos going to believe you? you are a troubled child. I was raped badly, bleeding, and ended up pregnant, had an abortion and tried to kill myself 3 times was put in a special house/mental ward. I cannot have children today because my mother put a new lover over me. I paid the price! I paid the price dearly for her to be happy. I didn’t ask to be born. I wish I was dead. I wish people would stop going after others that have children. The moral family is mother & father and children together…its not normal to have different partners…like animals you cannot 90% of cases love someone elses children. There is a special place in hell for these types of step-fathers.

          • Genha on February 28, 2016 at 10:04 pm

            “I 100% believe that if a single parent wants to date they should do it with another single parent or not at all.”

            “Every penny and every second you spent on your children after you decide to partner up with a childless person is a betrayal to that relationship and hurts your partner.”

            “Over 60% of women who date men who have children fall into depression or get a burnout. More than 75% of women who date men who have children regret getting involved in it.” And “Divorce rates in second marriages are somewhere between 65-70%. Divorce rates in second marriages without children are only 15%, you do the math on how much chance a relationship with a parent is.”

            I couldn’t agree more. My husband’s daughter is 20 years old. She’s earned up to 1k/week for the last 10 months or so and always complains about how broke she is. She would spend couple thousand dollars on her tattoos, couple thousand dollars on her cat’s face surgery plus multiple times of $100 to get her hair and nail done from the shop but nagging her dad for food money and a blown type! Of course all that ended up hurting our pocket because as my husband said his daughter needed help and how hurt she would feel if he turned his back on her!! But guess what, my husband always boasts about how independent she is!!!

            Whenever I make a comment about his daughter, he either ignores it or rushes into defend. My husband is an intelligent man but when it comes to parenting, very little of what he has done makes sense to me. My relationship with my husband is great… only when his daughter is not around. I swear to God that if I ever divorce, I will never get involved in a relationship with a single parent again! Not in a million years!!!

      • MARSHA on December 2, 2015 at 8:42 am

        I’m sorry to hear about this situation you placed yourself in and its terrible that you probably thought getting pregnant would EVEN the playing field for you. (selfish)SHAME on you for using a precious baby to do that. You should’ve MOVED on from this man as soon as you saw this type of behavior going on between him and his daughter. Its not your place to come into someone else’s life and change things. If they don’t want you there which ( obviously they don’t) you should’ve moved on to a MORE meaning, loving, fulfilling relationship with someone else. Now….You have to take off that selfish mask and be ALL you can be for that wonderful gift you’re about to receive which is your baby. Don’t let anyone make your kid feel like a second class citizen in your life now that you are a parent but not take it to the extreme like your husband and his daughter which is a bit OVERKILL. Best wishes!!!

      • Meme on December 4, 2015 at 5:19 pm

        I fricken LOVE this post and it is SOOO SPOT ON! It IS all about ‘balance’. Just as EVERYTHING in life is……or is it not? I BELIEVE thats the problem and the reason WHY Ive known sooo many people to eventually DIVORCE omce their kids leave the home, to live their own lives and raise their own families.

        As if the ONLY fricken reason the even got married was to raise kids….its sad and I shake my head. Some people really just dont get what marriage is all about. They really dont.
        Your husband/wife is the person YOU chose to spend the rest of your life with AND to build a future with….NOT ur children. Your CHILDREN will most likely LEAVE and GO OFF to raise their OWN families…..and then YOUR stuck with someone you BARELY know all because you CHOSE to neglect your marriage, in the.process….and thats not fair to YOU, your children OR your mate. Its just not RIGHT.

        Again, I so appreciate this thoughtful post!

        • Meme on December 4, 2015 at 5:24 pm

          Also….I hate to say it but I think a LOT of parents who are LONELY or lonely in their relationships and/ or have given up on love and finding a mate, tend to gravitate toward making their.children ‘everything’ in their lives. Just my opinion….but something to think.about.

        • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 10:39 am


      • Anthea on December 8, 2015 at 12:58 am

        So agree

      • Tiffany on December 27, 2015 at 9:26 am

        I deal with the same exact problem if only my boyfriend (because I refuse to marry him due to your same issues) could treat me like he does his daughters I’d be the happiest girl ever. I mean he treats me great but his grown daughters get treated and act like spoiled princesses and he hates when I even mention it, like it’s totally normal. And I myself am a daddy’s girl so I get it at least to a certain extent but sometimes it just obnoxious an drives me crazy I’m glad to know its not just me and I’m not crazy

        • Emma on December 27, 2015 at 5:53 pm

          You are NOT alone, for better or worse. Will you stay in the relationship?

        • Marie Perez on June 9, 2016 at 11:05 am

          Your not crazy. It’s actually appalling

      • Tania on February 7, 2016 at 7:39 am

        On Danielle that sounds awful, I can identify with a few of those things, maybe when your baby comes things will change, the daughter will definitely have to deal with not always coming first then x

        • Emma on February 8, 2016 at 12:59 pm


      • nadine on February 9, 2016 at 7:48 am

        Why would you allow a pregnancy for a man treating you this way?

      • Marie Perez on June 9, 2016 at 10:52 am

        Very sad dear. And warped. My apologies to you for the starement. The priorities here are off balance totally. My heart goes out to you.

    • Carol on June 30, 2015 at 11:21 am

      you can’t blame other women for what the first one did to you. A woman deserves all of you or you shouldn’t be seeking a relationship until that thinking is gone.

      • William on November 25, 2015 at 6:50 pm

        Carol you’re incorrect, I’m sorry Im a living result of this scenario…… what you and your partner need to do in the scenario you sit down and have a long talk not a betch fest… but a talk, a woman does deserve to be first but she also has to understand her place and at what correct times should she be placed first. Not a constant first position that just can’t happen when you have children if you can’t show your children guidance because you’re too busy showing your loved one how much you love them, then that’s a sad story for everyone!

    • Tammy on November 7, 2015 at 1:19 am

      Haha, that’s funny!! Most guys aren’t always the bread winner lets get that straight… It’s not always, “his fortune.” Secondly, men cheat big time my friend… Matter a fact many men cheat on their wives every week for years with all different women. You know what the sad part is they are still married because the wife doesn’t know… That just threw your statistics right out the door… I love my kids dearly if you find an amazing person to spend your life with I agree your partner comes first, you just need to create a good balance… No relationships are easy it takes a lot of love, work and commitment…

      • Matt on November 25, 2015 at 9:53 pm

        He very clearly said most of the time the man is the bread winner, pretty sad you have to twist his words because your argument is so weak. Men cheat, sure, so do women, I find cheating deplorable regardless of the sex of the person but I would bet both sexes these days are equally guilty.

        I must say I’m shocked how many of you are so self-centered that you actually think your romantic life should come before your children, but look around at how screwed kids are and it doesn’t surprise me when they are being raised by people like you.

        • MB on December 2, 2015 at 1:49 pm

          Once again, Matt, thank you for your words of wisdom.

          I think what certain people believe is that we’re saying that single parents should be sexless martyrs who only live for their children to an unhealthy degree.
          No one is saying that.

          The real issue, based on my own experiences as an unwanted stepchild and seeing the attitudes of these selfish people, is that the children SHOULD come first.
          They didn’t bring themselves into this world. They did not ask for their parents to be divorced or separated or whatever. So it is the job of the parent they live with to nurture them, take care of them, provide for them and love them. Period.

          These people knowingly get involved with a person who has children and then they complain about being second to the child’s needs? Really? They knew what they signed up for. They can leave if they don’t like it. There are plenty of single childless men and women out there who will devote ALL their time and attention.

        • Sarah Humphreys on March 5, 2018 at 11:28 pm

          Kids can screwed up BECAUSE there is no balance. The article does not mention that you should neglect your children for your partner. Its about not making your partner feel neglected because you have children. Just because there are more people to love does not mean ANYONE be it partner or children should get any less love. There are times when children should be a priority but so should your partner. Kids need to see what a healthy relationship and family unit looks like so they can replicate it when the time comes for them to grow up and start families of their own. Just a question to finish how would you feel if your little prince or princess was feeling neglected by their partners in say 20 or 30 years time and they were the ones writing these comments on how neglected they were feeling and some heartless people were bagging them about how they were feeling?? Nuff said

    • shelia on November 24, 2015 at 10:45 am

      So basically what you are teaching your own little girl is that no matter how great you are; the mom isnt important and always on the back burner, right? If you do not show your little kids, how important a relationship is then you are merely showing them how to mistreat one another. Its great you want to show them im a good dad, but what they see you in love is how you are teaching them to treat a spouse yourself. So I disagree with you, you always show the kids they are included, but you should never put anyone nor anything above your spouse, they married you in a union, not marriage gone divided.

      • William on November 25, 2015 at 6:14 pm

        No that’s not what you’re teaching your children you’re teaching them A there will always be someone around who loves you any mother or parent can say they love their child but actions speak louder than words

      • Matt on November 25, 2015 at 9:54 pm

        If he is getting remarried then she would not be their mother, and she is not his flesh and blood and he did not bring her into the world, your comment is plain absurd.

      • MB on December 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm

        @ Shelia…I understand what you’re saying and you make a good point. However, people tend to take this whole “union” concept a bit too far (which is most likely tied to religion in some ways).

        We should definitely cherish our spouses and partners, there is no question about that. But when a person knowingly enters a relationship with somebody who has kids from a previous relationship, they should be aware of what it might entail.

        They should also understand that until the child is old enough to fend for themselves and be independent, the child needs the parent much more than they (the partner) does.

        The child needs their parent to be there, esp. in cases where the other biological parent is dead or absent for whatever reason.

        Children can suffer if their emotional needs are neglected in favor of Mom or Dad’s selfish partner.

      • Marie Perez on June 9, 2016 at 11:01 am

        Amen. It’s scriptural if you are a believer. You spouse comes after God and then your children. Doesn’t mean you neglect them. God’s order is in balance not only is it in balance it’s Perfect. Families are struggling because of theirl lack of knowledge. Your significant other shouldn’t have to compete with the kids or feel neglected because you are consumed with your children this is not healthy for the relationship or for the children. God Bless you

      • jenny on June 15, 2018 at 1:38 pm

        Shelia if this union marriage thing is so important to the 2nd, 3rd spouse? why not make your FIRST marriage work, the one you had the CHILDREN with! so this is why I say a new partner 2,3,4, 5, 10th guy don’t go around saying marriage is a union, sealed, marriage comes first…when the kids were there first from your FIRST RELATIONSHIP! Make that relationship work. Mother and Father putting the children’s needs ahead…works better than a new lover.

    • Chgo Doll on November 27, 2015 at 1:43 am

      Then, why are you dating? If you can’t put the time/effort into a relationship why put that person in your life in the first place. We have feeling too. Yes your children should be first but don’t put another person through the tortue we have feeling too. Did you date your ex wife obviously not that’s why your divorced. You can have your kids every weekend (no saying its your situation), sports during the week and use the days your kids to bail on you to work on a new relationship. If you can’t put the effort then don’t bring someone into your life. Who is being selfish when you do? Together for 4 years I’m still not allowed to stay the night when his soon is there His son told his father. I don’t want you to have a gf. I’m your gf.

      • MB on December 2, 2015 at 2:06 pm

        @ chgo doll…well, you always have the option of ending the relationship if you’re unhappy. I see your point about the son’s behavior and you not being able to spend the night. I’m sorry about that.

        And I agree, some people shouldn’t date at all. But you’ve been putting up with this for 4 years. Maybe you should leave if you’re so unhappy with the situation.

        At this point, you can’t blame anyone but yourself because you are choosing to stay in this situation.

      • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 7:00 pm

        “I don’t want you to have a gf. I’m your gf.” That is creepy!!!

        • Emma on February 11, 2016 at 8:58 am


      • Annn on September 28, 2017 at 5:04 pm

        Omg!!4 years and he still does that how old is the child?

    • Jamie on December 27, 2015 at 6:39 am

      I can see why you’re single. You sound like a very bitter angry little man. I’d say the idea that you’ll ever be in the position to get married and therefore get divorced or have kids is severe wishful thinking on your part.

    • Jennifer on February 8, 2016 at 10:47 pm

      They will be alone . Remember it is not our fault they got divorced. It is their fault and their failure. So be alone in the nursing home..

  3. Emma on January 31, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Harry – really interesting points I had not considered. This really got me thinking:

    >Most of them had been putting their wives first, drifted away from friends over the years, and look where it got them.

  4. Harry Bosch on February 17, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    I’d forgotten about my post for this article, so I’m back a few weeks later…

    An elaboration on the sentence you referenced…I don’t want to go so far as to say, “look out for #1.” But I will say that nobody cares about your life as much as you do. So I guess the moral of the story is be a giving person, but don’t be played for a sucker.

    • Emma on February 17, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      “So I guess the moral of the story is be a giving person, but don’t be played for a sucker.”

      Can’t argue with that!

      • wanda on January 10, 2016 at 1:49 pm

        we ne ver spend much time together at all, the minute his daughter calls to demand things like i need you to go with me to the haul company to get a truck and measure it so i know what i’m getting, or when she got married he had to go and get the walls measured and than take all day to decorate the place with his ex-wife and some of her family members, and their mutual friends, but i was not invited to go help by him or her, the ex wife knows he is in a relationship with me, and she/he constantly put themselves in together to be side by side, we had a family table that we sat at and low and behold we had to sit right across from her and her friend where i had to listen to them talk about the pass people in their lives. now she text last night to say dad i need you to go with me to look at this footlocker she found on craigslist and it is 36 miles away, this is on a Sunday when we usually relax because we work all week long.we have not been intimate in months, we are in our mid 50’s and she does not live with us, but will be staying with us for a couple of weeks until she moves to California where her husband is stationed at, sad to say i really cannot wait till she moved. it is very hard for us to even get a relationship going because of her high demands to come between us all the time. when we dated i live 123 miles away from him, he invited me to move where he is because of his JOB, and i have 6 adult children and 14 grand children, but i go see them usually on Wednesday when my day off is, but i am always back and have dinner either ready for him after he has worked all day, or i purchase something out to eat, but any which way you look at it i have dinner on the table waiting for him when he gets right in the door, i treat him like a king and i am the last thing on his mind, or at lease that’s what it feels like he is always putting me on the back burner. that i am at wits ends, and am to the point that i really want to give up. any advise will be helpful, Thank You and God Bless

  5. Angela on October 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Agreed that the hockey coach thing is ridiculous, and that if you are dating someone, you need to make time alone as a couple to get to know each other and to be adults and not just mommies and daddies.

    However, knowing too many single parents, moms and dads, who have placed too much of a priority on their significant other of the week rather than their kids’ stability, I think I would rather go the other way. I would be much more comfortable with the match.com dad who says his kids come first than the one who is willing to drop them at a moment’s notice for a good date. Which I suppose is why I’ve always been most comfortable dating (good) single dads, because they seem to get where I’m coming from in terms of the time, energy, and responsibility devoted to our kids.

    Ultimately, I would like to have a great relationship with the right man, but I certainly couldn’t say that someone I’d been dating for a few months would become a priority over my son. It’s hard to find that balance and admittedly I err on the side of “my kid comes first”. I’m ok with that for now. If the right man comes along, hopefully we will both gradually be able to make room for each other. But he may have to accept one night a week with a sitter for my son at first.

    • Barbara Stephan on September 14, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      As the stepmother of an adult daughter that is bringing a different man into into her three small children’s lives every few months I say hogwash!! The fact that
      she is not even legally divorced makes the situation worse.

      Ask yourself-what am I teaching the kids by this example? The priority of any parent -single or married- is to provide a safe, secure and stable home life for their children!

      This goes to show what a hedonistic society we still live in. I hope my stepdaughter hasn;t seen your pathetic blog. The idea that putting your kids second to a boyfriend is acceptable is terrible. If a single parent is engaged to be married then that is a game changer. But up until a commitment is made-the children come first.

    • MB on December 2, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      Wise words, Angela! “Adult time” IS very important but should not come at the expense of the children.

      My mother always put her social/dating life above my needs and it sucked. It taught me that while she loved me in her own way, the men in her life would always be more important.

      We rarely had quality time together. As it is, my biological father was absent from my life, so you can imagine the sadness I felt at not having my mom around either.
      There was always somebody more important, more worthy of her time and attention.

      People need to understand the pain and hurt this causes a child. After all, the child came from the mother or the father.
      When a selfish partner expects somebody to cast aside their own flesh and blood, that is wrong. I never understood how my stepfather could say that he loved my mother, yet he hated me…aren’t I a part of her?

      I honestly believe that it is jealousy, insecurity, and a lack of maturity with these people who feel entitled to come before their partner’s kids.

  6. L on October 11, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Thinking of the single dad I dated who never once visited me while I was in the hospital for a week with an infection. He used his kids as an excuse, then having no money for gas.
    Yeah, well it really spelled out what his priorities were.

    • Emma on October 13, 2014 at 1:56 pm

      Ouch, yeah, tough but sounds like it just wasn’t a match. Hope you’re feeling better now?

      • Lola on October 14, 2015 at 5:34 am

        This is such a BS piece. Here’s the deal. Single people need to find someone single with NO kids. There are plenty of people out there. Single people with kids find someone else ‘single’, with kids – you are already both on the same page. BUT if you can’t meet someone amongst those in the same situation as yourself, then work on the best relationship you can have in the all the circumstances ,with the other parent and share the child care right down the MIDDLE. That way you can both have good relationships with your kids. and it is fair When kids are grown and independent then you can BOTH do as you like. Parenting is no different to any other job although it is arguably more important than most. If you slacked off in your day job or decided that you could re-prioritise your duties to give yourself more freedom, you’d get the sack. ” BUT I HAVE A RIGHT TO A PERSONAL LIFE ” I hear you bleat” – too bad, you CHOSE to be parents – not part time parents or when I feel like it parents. Then there is the fact, that single people who end up with someone else’s left over family have already sent out the message that they don’t deserve better – so don’t start belly aching about lack of respect or coming second – you chose to be SECOND. People who come with baggage and kids in tow have already re-aligned their expectations, people who hook up with them need to do the same. If you don’t like it, then you only have yourselves to blame.

        • Frank Spencer on November 25, 2015 at 2:28 am

          You’re an idiot

        • MB on December 2, 2015 at 2:26 pm

          *slow clap* YES, Lola…amen!

          This is the choice that they make and then they complain about it. They resent the child, who in most cases, had no say in the matter because adults make all the decisions.

          Look at all the stories we see in the media where some innocent child has been hurt or killed by Mom or Dad’s new partner, all because of selfishness. They chose to date or marry a person with kids and then they get mad when they realize that the child isn’t going away.

          These people need a reality check…they need to grow up and accept the situation, make it work somehow, or move on.
          But no…they come into a package deal and they try to change the dynamics with their own selfish interests in mind. They automatically see the kids as annoying brats even if that isn’t true, and they resent their partner for (oh, the horror!) actually being PARENTS.

    • Diamond on July 8, 2016 at 1:18 am

      This is why I have never ever considered giving single dads a chance. This is exactly what they really mean when they say “My kids come first, deal with it!”. I’m glad you left him. I bet that guy is still single. :D

    • Sarah May Humphreys on November 12, 2018 at 5:13 pm

      L. He sounds like a total jerk. I hope you guys are no longer together. You deserve better. WAAAAY better

  7. A on December 31, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I think this article drastically over-simplifies matters. My mother and her ‘new’ (4 years, not that new…) husband put each other first, followed by his children, followed by my brother and I. This has led to us both feeling extremely isolated and alienated. Although I acknowledge that my mum and her husband need time to themselves, I think that there still needs to be a definite element of love from a parent in a child’s life for them to be happy. My step-father has manipulated my mother and she now has no friends of her own and has completely lost touch with all members of her family except for me (including her own mother, sister, and son, who now lives with our father,) and the way my step siblings are treated is vastly superior to the way I live. Although they live separately from us, when they visit we buy food from Waitrose, as opposed to our usual Sainsburys. If I try to watch the television with them or eat with them, I am shunned or constantly mocked under the pretence of ‘sarcastic wit’, which, if returned by myself, is treated as abject rudeness. I know do not feel like I can engage in the family at all; I am an outsider, banished to my bedroom and scared to leave for fear of encountering the dreaded husband. I feel more relaxed at school than at home. I have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety. So, although this article seems to be very pro ‘single-independant-women-living-life-to-the-full etc. etc,’ which I am completely up for, I feel the need to point out the dangers of continuing this sort of attitude into a long term relationship.

    Sorry for the rant. :)

    • Emma on January 2, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      Hi A – thanks for sharing and I’m so sorry you are in such a horrible situation. It sounds like your mom is in an abusive relationship and that affects the entire family. I hope she gets the help she needs.

      • JNETT on April 28, 2015 at 2:02 pm


        • MB on December 2, 2015 at 2:28 pm

          @JNETT…oh, you pitiful troll. Children are NOT “worthless” although that seems to be the attitude of many people today.

          And it’s THEIR, honey, not “there”.

          • MB on December 2, 2015 at 2:29 pm

            Actually no, let me rephrase that to “THEY’RE”…as in, they are. I was so pissed off by your comment that I made an error myself.

    • mollie on May 11, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      Hi. Thanks for your comment as I am a single Mum with a 2 and 5 yr old.
      I am now living with my partner who has 3 kids of his own but they visit every fortnight on a weekend.
      I am scared as all hell to not lose who I am or the Mother I was before I met my partner.
      I have read lots about putting your kids second but it has never sat well with me and I always wondered how grown kids feel that have witnessed it.
      Thanks for the insight and I Wil be careful not to fall into the same trap as your Mother.

      • Emma on May 12, 2015 at 11:58 am

        I really believe that if you are genuinely taking care of yourself, being true to yourself, you are going to be a happy, healthy woman and great role model for your kids, and a thriving mom. For example, if you commit to regular exercise, that may mean you spend, say, 5 fewer hours per week with your children. But you a) will be happier, more energetic and less stressed (take this from me — two days without exercise and my kids pay the price!), setting a great example of healthy living for your family, and more likely to live a longer, healthier life and not be a burden on your kids down the road.

        Apply this to dating … if you are happily dating or searching for love or enjoying a great relationship or getting regular, fantastic sex, then a) you will feel fantastic and your kids will benefit from that, b) you will model an adult woman who recognizes her needs as a person and acts on them, responsibly, c), you will set an example of happy, healthy dating and maybe a relationship, d) you will teach your kids that the sun does not rise and set on their asses.

        • Chgo Doll on November 27, 2015 at 1:59 am

          Well said!!!
          I did not date as my children grew. My youngest is now 26. Introduced him to some as a friend that was coming to help him with his car problems. He flipped out and was very rude to him. He still seems to think the mommy world revolves around him.

          • MB on December 2, 2015 at 2:37 pm

            @chgo doll…sorry to hear that. You were wise to not date while your children were growing up. Your son, at 26, is an adult so he should be more open to you having your own life now.

            However, maybe there is more to it. Is it possible that he is overly protective of you, as some kids are of their mothers?
            Or could it be that he sees something in this guy that you don’t? Sometimes other people pick up on bad vibes that we are “love-blind” to.

            There is no excuse for him to flip out and be rude to your boyfriend, but these are just some things to consider.
            I had a bad feeling about my mother’s husband way before they were ever married…a lot of red flags in his behavior. He was arrogant, selfish, rude, verbally abusive, not a nice person in general.

        • David on April 4, 2016 at 10:43 pm

          Read the research on girls who had single mothers who dated at will, it has a far worse affect than you realize! Very little on about single dad’s dating and how it affects the child, I suppose that is to do with research not catching up to the times though. We should in my opinion keep it in our pants and/or keep the partner away from our children until we see that a long-term future is possible with that person! Let’s try to teach our children that we don’t need a bedmate to be happy and that sleeping around is not a good trait, be it male or female! Also it it perfectly fine for my children to think that daddy’s world revolves around them or that the sun rises and sets with them. It does seem as though you have some issues you need to work out, therapy may with your me issues! Better yet if the sex is what your after just plant your ass outside a male penitentiary and let each and every inmate getting relaesed have their way with you!

      • William on November 25, 2015 at 6:41 pm

        Here I’ll help you out Molly I’m 33 my girlfriend is 27 together we have 6 kids two of which are mine and three of which are hers, one is our newborn daughter she’ll be a year old December 5th….. my oldest is 13 years old she’ll be turning 14 on December 26th of this year I’ve been with this girl for two and a half almost 3 years…. my kids before I meet her, I would see them every weekend Saturdays and Sundays, I raise them this way since they were around 4yes old and 2 years old being that me and my ex wife split we finally where to a point, where we were pretty all leveled out, I was single for a while before I met my new girlfriend then I finally got lonely to the point where I wanted a relationship I have bent over backwards for my new girlfriend and it never seems enough when dealing with my children having time for her. Come to find out she was put second growing up and it’s affected her tremendously she wants to be put first over anything no matter what so. We’re to the point now where I tried to be understanding of her feelings, and her wants, and her needs…. to the point where I started slowly pushing my kids away it became to the point where when my kids did come over to the house her house mind you to visit me they began to feel unwelcome because she always had and attitude towards them, because whenever they are around I tend to show them a little attention I only get to see them every other week now by choice to work in favorism of keeping my girlfriend happy. It was so bad to the point that when my 10 year old son came over I would be out cutting the lawn or some oddball chore, or thing to do around the house, that I would show him how to do it and let him help she began to freak out on me because her sons couldn’t help although her sons ranged in age from 3 5 and 6 there was no way that her could have pushed a lawn mower so because of this she wouldn’t let me have my son learn responsibilities and help cut the lawn. I had to push them so far away from me to give her all the attention and put her first that my children now resent me, they don’t like to be around me because I’m with her had she been a little bit more caring as somewhat what should be expected towards someone else’s kids and not straight up rude to the point where they don’t want to be around you my kids would be fine my daughter as a result of this so-called putting your kids second theory, has already tried cutting her wrist a couple times used to be a normal dressing type of girl now she switched almost completely gothic whenever she does come around us she doesn’t even listen she puts on her headphones I’ve done everything I can possibly do to try to adjust the situation but if your significant other that you are with does not want to share their time with you or your children I’ve came to the point where I’m starting to realize that I can do this on my own I don’t necessary need drama constant fights every weekend over my children being around or my children not being around it selfishness for anyone to think that you can put children second… I’m a living and prime example of this scenario and it doesn’t work out great for either person I love my girlfriend but I hate the way she thinks her mentality I’m with her all week for two weeks straight I go to work come home we do random things we go shopping on Sundays at night just the simple shape but she always claims that I never spend enough time towards her and…. so my story continues…

        • james on November 28, 2015 at 7:24 pm

          Although I’m not as far in, I am starting to experience some of what you have just mentioned with my fiance when my son visits or I spend time with him. She feels excluded with her boy, even tho I only get to see my son 25 days a year but spend the rest with her (me ex ran off abroad with my son)

    • weaselina on August 18, 2015 at 10:03 am

      I come from a family and have dated within families who ostracize or team up on a member of the family just because they are dysfunctional. My family did it with me, and I dated a man for a decade whose family did it to each other, abusing under the sarcasm title, but if you give it back you are being a jerk.
      In the end, it doesn’t matter if you are blood or if it is a blended family, without respect for each other you will have problems.
      Demanding respect from kids and from adults is the key, and sadly since we are just animals operating on a reptile brain it is necessary.
      Teaching empathy and insisting on respect is all we can do, and if you can’t get it then you have to either leave the situation or suffer with it.
      I left my family of origin in my late teens and my life has been much better for doing so.
      People speak of the hell of step-families, but when so many blood ties are alcoholics, or whatever their damage is, being with your birth parents is not always so grand either.
      In the end it is the family you choose to be with that matters, and those people should respect your boundaries and employ empathy and compassion if they want it in return.

    • Lola on October 14, 2015 at 5:44 am

      Sorry to hear of your situation . Sounds like you are being crushed in your famly heirarchy. It does interest me that you have commented on this blog purely because there seems to be so few forums for kids to voice their feelings., when there are an endless number self- congratulatory, head patting, we deserve respect – step parent forums. I guess this is hitting harder because the rejection seems to be coming from your mother. Can I ask where your dad is in all this?

      • MB on December 2, 2015 at 2:48 pm

        @ Lola….thank you! A lot of step-parents miss the forest for the trees. Not all, of course, but many do.

        They don’t understand that respect goes both ways. You don’t treat your partner’s kids like crap, then turn around and whine about not being respected.
        You have to build a relationship with the child where you both trust and respect one another. Until then, no good can come of it.

        My stepfather was all about demanding respect from me, but he never treated me kindly or fairly. And as a result, there were SERIOUS problems for years.
        But to many of these people, they don’t look at their own attitudes and try to work on themselves. They focus only on the child’s behavior, not on their own behavior and how it influences a child to act.

        There is even a forum of step-parents calling their partner’s children vile names, saying they hate the kids, etc…I’m sure it shows in how they treat the kids as well.

        Now there are situations where some kids really are nightmares to deal with and the parent is overly indulgent, but this is usually not the case.

        My stepfather used to accuse my mom of “spoiling” me just because she hugged me in front of him. Or anytime she was nice to me, really.
        He wanted her to shut me out of her life completely so they could ride off into the sunset and do whatever the hell they wanted.

  8. Elyssa on January 6, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    I think most people who read this article misunderstood it. Being a child of a blended family that went sour I can tell you what went wrong. My step dad always put his kids before my mother so much so that it felt like his eldest daughter was little wife number 1. I don’t mean that in an incest way but there would be times where she would pick out his clothes or make him lunch or try to act like the woman of the house. It was nauseating. My mom always went above and beyond for him and his children but she was always disrespected and put on the back burner. He failed to make it clear to his kids that my mother was his partner in everything and that her word was just as good as his…no negotiations. He needed to demonstrate to all of us that marriage is a partnership between spouses not between children. Now that my mother is single I feel that her happiness is the most important thing. If the children are in a loving, stable environment and are getting enough attention why shouldn’t parents put their emotional needs first? Let me tell you having a lonely and sad mother/father does not make for happy children. I don’t think the author was encouraging single people to drop their kids like a bag of bricks the minute someone calls for a date but to encourage single people to make uninterrupted time for themselves to date or do whatever else that is fulfilling to them without kids. Now that I’m in an adult relationship we tell each other that we as a loving partnership come first before the children. Children will grow up and leave you and then it’s just you and your partner all over again so it’s important to nurture that relationship while raising children.

    • Emma on January 7, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Elyssa – thank you so much for sharing your story. You 100% get it and your step dad/sister example illustrates how bad this can be.

    • Sarah on August 5, 2015 at 11:57 pm

      Thank you for an excellent, reasonable. post. I am in the process of ending a wonderful, loving 15 year relationship because my boyfriend’s 17 year old daughter decided she had to come out to live here and be a faux surfer girl. My boyfriend stopped calling or texting as much. We had been looking for a house in the desert for months and months. He finally found one and wanted us both to buy it. He just told me that he wanted to buy it on his own so “he could give it to his daughter if anything happened to him”. He then informed me that “she was here before me so she’s his priority”. I am heartbroken. I will never, ever date a man with children, young or grown, again.

      • Emma on August 6, 2015 at 3:20 am

        Oh man, Sarah. This is crazy. I’m not the hugest fan of couple’s therapy, but I wonder if a trusted third party could talk some sense into him?

        As for never dating a man with kids … careful not to stigmatize half the male population :)

      • Christine on August 20, 2015 at 3:45 pm

        I’ve been dating a man for over 4 years. Unfortunately met him before his divorce was final, but have always been very supportive of his relationship with his ex and kids. He recently told me that he couldn’t take any vacation with me this Summer because he didn’t know when he was going to start building his “legacy house”, which I helped to design, etc. He needed to be home when he got the all go to put the shovel in the ground. Well, a couple of weeks later he booked a trip for 6 days to Arizona, which now turned into 9, to move his daughter back into her living arrangements at college, which was supposed to be the ex-wife’s job and was agreed upon by them since the moved her out in May. I am very hurt because I wasn’t even invited to go along, and he doesn’t have any intention of arranging a vacation for us even though he hasn’t started building the house. Also, he wants me to live with him in this “legacy house”, which would mean I would give up my well-paying secure job because I couldn’t commute from the new house. I pressed him to answer the question if anything happens to him where would that leave me? He said not in exactly these words, but that he is looking into purchasing other property in the area because the “legacy house” is for his daughters & their future families. He can’t understand why I’m so devastated.

        • Sarah on October 16, 2015 at 12:15 am

          Hi Christine,

          Read my comment above yours. We are in very similar situations, I totally feel your pain and get it. My boyfriend of 15 years and I took a trip where we first went to look at the property he had just bought to be handed down to his trust fund daughter, then later that day drove around to look at a SECOND property for me to buy on my own but in the next town over. Thank God I didn’t buy anything. I am now planning on buying my own place at a later time, possibly in a foreign country. This business of putting kids from previous relationships FIRST and ahead of a current relationship….particularly a stable, long term relationship….is, quite simply, cruel. If a man cannot fully love both his kid and his new woman, he is NOT fit to be dating. I have better ways to spend my time than hurting as the second or third place woman. I truly wish you well.

    • Diamond on July 8, 2016 at 1:22 am

      Well said, Elyssa! Preach! :)

  9. Ms M. on February 7, 2015 at 10:48 am

    I agree completely with the author.
    It may sound harsh but like the previous writer said, marriage is a partnership between two adults. it is important for kids to see that as this in turn will teach them what a healthy relationship is about.
    Kids will move out, marry, have their own lives. All we have to do is be good teaches, good examples of healthy adult relationships. This will help them be happier and dare I say more fulfilled.

    • Emma on February 8, 2015 at 10:22 am

      So agree – thanks Mrs M!

    • Sarah on October 16, 2015 at 12:19 am

      One additional slant that has not been brought up here is that there really is no longer an expectation that kids will “grow up and move out”. My boyfriend kept saying, this will just continue until his daughter turns 18, but considering that she has no plans for college, smokes weed, has never held a job in her life and attends a private school where the students focus on knitting and crafts, I don’t see at which point she will “suddenly” become independent and grown up. I think a more likely scenario is that she will hook up with a guy, get pregnant, and that this cycle will continue for decades.

      • brigitte on May 29, 2016 at 1:01 pm

        She won’t leave home for many more years yet. She’ll spend random days at random boyfriends homes who are also living at home. Then random boyfriend will have a turn at your house too.

        She probably will avoid getting pregnant because she won’t want to share her rescources, recreational time, get extra tasks to do.

        Do understand that youth like that in average homes aren’t like this happily or completely by desire.

        Not that it makes it any easier to live with, wether your a step or biological parent.

        Actually such kids at this stage can cause divorces.Those of bio parents.It’s the intense blaming of any difference in parenting the other did/didn’t do as causing the kids arrested development. At least bio and step just get to grumble about the inconvenience.

  10. Valerie on February 27, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Elyssa – I just wanted to say thank you for your comments. I recently very sadly came out of a relationship that was ended by a man who’s daughter acted the same way as you mentioned & who’s son just threw tantrums everytime he was at our house (he would refuse to eat the food that we cooked & would demand take aways etc which my x-fiance would alway give in to as he didn’t want his son to ‘go hungry’). He’s now decided he has to be on his own & focus on his 15 & 18 year old, while I’ve been left absolutely devasted. I too was in a blended family after my father died when I was 10 & my mum remarried & the only thing I wanted was my mum to be happy.

  11. Rose on March 12, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Male partners are always complaining about lack of love from their wives or that their wives love their children more. However if a grown man feels this way when he is aware that he is second to the children, just think how the little children would feel knowing that their moms loved a grown man more than them. There have been reported cases of depression in kids stemming from this, and I myself have grown up with my mom loving strange men and even other people’s children more than me.

  12. Jason on March 17, 2015 at 10:16 am

    This article is absulte crap the child should always come first and I’m speaking from experience what if your mother met some guy and treated you like crap afterwards and you was 12 years of age with no father how would you feel and then at the age of 16 your getting kicked out of the house for the husband is that really good parenting??

    • weaselina on August 18, 2015 at 10:12 am

      The childs needs should be met and the children respected, but kids should to run the house or rule adult relationships.
      When parents let their kids act in the role of little wife or husband as far as making rules or running the show, it is both demeaning to adults, who work and pay for the whole thing, and it is bad for the children, who get the false idea that they are the center of the universe, which they are not.
      As long as they are treated with love and respect, and their are cared for, they should not be able to demand that the adults revolve around them.
      It is not healthy.
      Look at all the young people failing in the world because some guilty or lonely parent made their kid the center of the world and revolved around them. They can’t go out into the world and succeed if they are tied to the apron strings too tight, or never taught what good relationships look like.
      They are kids. Letting them run things is crazy.
      If you let them rule your life, why not let them eat all the junk food they want, stay up late all the time, and anything else they want?
      Adults need to have boundaries in order to teach kids how to respect boundaries.
      And if you can not make your partner in life your priority, do not date until you can. You can’t expect someone to devote themselves to you if you can’t give back the same.

      • Emma on August 18, 2015 at 10:52 am


        • Lola on October 14, 2015 at 5:52 am

          How can you agree when YOU come from a FAILED relationship You didn’t put into practicewhat yo ‘think’ or what you ‘think’ doesn’t work?

        • Sarah May Humphreys on November 12, 2018 at 6:18 pm


    • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 10:49 am

      ” Treated you like crap”? What are you talking about? Did you even read this article?

  13. JSy on March 29, 2015 at 10:48 am

    I divorced when my children were in middle school. And my children DID come first. So, I did not date. I devoted myself exclusively to my children. It’s not that complicated.

    When men say, “My children come first!” that is honorable. Go on and raise them with gusto during this season. No regrets.

    But don’t try to get what you want from a woman without understanding her need to feel truly prioritized in your life as any soul mate would desire. Wait until you have more time. Successful relationships require a lot of WORK. It’s hard trying to figure all that out WHILE pouring all your energy into kids grades and extra curricular activities, their feelings and drama with their friends and teachers/coaches, all while trying to keep your career viable to be able to pay the mortgage and car notes so you can taxi them all over the place. That’s too much.

    I didn’t want any man of mine to NOT feel cherished and prioritized. So, I didn’t get on my soapbox and declare on a bullhorn, “My children COME FIRST!” I just put my children first. Period. And now I date WITH ABANDON! I love men. My college-aged kids better NOT say nothing but, “Thank you for paying this tuition.” This is MY season now. No regrets. And we have all have great relationships.

    • Lola on October 14, 2015 at 5:53 am


    • Sarah on October 16, 2015 at 12:23 am

      JSy you are awesome!!! I couldn’t agree with you more. If you’re going to be a single parent, either do as you did and be a single parent, or make it clear to your partner that there is plenty of love to go around. I hope you land yourself a big fish, you deserve it!!!

      • Emma on October 16, 2015 at 7:10 pm

        Still looking, thanks :)

    • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 10:50 am

      Very good point and healthy perspective!

    • Diamond on July 8, 2016 at 1:28 am

      JSy, you are very wise. Well said, well done! If more single parents did things the way you did, then maybe they wouldn’t be that defensive and negative. Single parents can’t have their cake and eat it too. As you said, while the kids are little, forget the dating and concentrate on the kids! And once they are grown, the world is yours! I wish you all the best, lady. :)

      • Emma on July 11, 2016 at 1:27 pm

        Lovely note :)

  14. s roy on March 31, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    u didn’t chose your children but decided to have children. but think about children who neither chose their parents nor decided to be born. Now the problem with the family today is for your infidelity, mistrust, mental illness, abusive behaviour children have to pay the price. and at the time of your divorce u will tell your kids that ” we will always love u no matter what” and at the time of your date you tell your kids”he did not decide who I dated and when — that was my decision and my choice” at the time of your remarriage u will tell this broken kids ” it is ok not to be ok” and the time of your honeymoon u will keep yore children with someone because you are ashamed to include your children in your special moment . it is you who shown how to disrespect the marriage , not allowing them every moment of your life.After all this things you are expecting to get respected, to be loved so u are asking them to be mature, thats nice!!!!!!!!!!!!! i really don’t understand who need to be mature.
    your children are broken they are dying inside. look into their marriage life how they are doing. i hope they will not do the same mistake what u have done.But most of the cases this children became abusive towards their spouses the cycle will do on and on.
    U remarried because of your own physical and financial reason and so on. U divorced his/her bio parents for your own problem. if you feel u can provide and beautiful life to a child then bring child into this world other wise don’t . Nobody forced you or nobody can to have children if you don’t want to. if child life destroyed because of your stupidity and selfishness then u are only to be blamed. ” If the kids come first then why get remarried in the first place?” i can ask u another way– if marriage/remarriage is so important to u then why to bring a child into this world.

    1) child is not your marriage cement,not your marriage symbol,not your pets. it is your flesh and blood. don’t destroy your grand children life by destroying their patents life because u are the adult and mature you are the one who have to sacrifice don’t ask your child to sacrifice.
    2) Get remarried when your children are adult/independent and in this time only put your marriage first.
    3)I think u are good as a girlfriend/boyfriend but u don’t deserved to mother/dad. I am truly sorry for your child.

  15. Joanna on March 31, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    I agree with putting your spouse first however, im looking for some advice/guidance for my situation which is….i divorced my husband exactly one year ago. Him & I have 2 children together a boy who is 4 years old & a girl who is 2 years old. I also have a 2 month old daughter with my current boyfriend. My current boyfriend has been around since my 2 YEAR old daughter was 5 months old however, we didnt start dating until i was divorced…my problem is that my boyfriend & my son (4 yrs old) do NOT get along or have any kind of bond at all but they use to up until my son realized that its no longer “mommy & daddy” & its now “mommy & rick” and my 2 year old daughter & my b/f get along so well and have an amazing bond! I have always put my son first & took up for him, “babied” him due to the fact that he makes me feel terrible & guilty. Is there any possibility of starting to put my relationship/spouse first NOW or is it too late? We’ve tried but we’re lost and not sure how to go about it!!! Please, any help and/or advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • Terri Lynn on November 19, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      You are nothing but a common whore who should never have had and should not have any more children. Seriously your first child deserves better than you for a mother.

      • Misterbluedevil on January 7, 2016 at 10:28 pm

        Pitiful. No character at all. Just a shallow, hopeless carcass. A shell of a woman.
        Your mother deserves more than you, as a bad mouth daughter.

  16. Alex on May 31, 2015 at 2:04 am

    I feel I have to share my experience of the last 4 years with you. I have been living with a man who has 4 daughters. A 24 year old, a 21 year old, a 9 year old and a 8 year old. He is 52 I am 41. When I first met my partner when he saw his older girls either together or separately he used to ask me to go home as the girls wanted to see him on their own. I stayed every other night. He used to share a bed with them. I found this totally wrong we had many rows over this. I felt he should of given up his bed for them and slept on sofa or they should not stay the night. He also has the younger girls every other weekend and the same thing happened, but I didn’t used to go home I used to stay on the settee and he slept with them in our bed. Every other night we made love in this bed. I felt very unhappy about this. I even spoke to social services For advice. They were very concerned and said this was not appropriate and if I gave his name they would contact the mum and my partner to say if he didn’t have appropriate beds for his children they shouldn’t stay. For the last 2 years this hasn’t happened and they sleep on the settee and I share his bed.
    I know my partner misses his kids all the time and can’t wai to see them. He really over compensates for this and they get away with blue murder. He gives them rules which they disobey and there is no consequence. Empty threats. I get so frustrated as I haven’t been brought up like this. On the few occasions he does tell them off they both cover their faces and burst in tears. He then forgets why he told them off in the first place and goes over the top making up for making them cry. They have no boundaries. We don’t smoke we hate it, but he lets his older girls smoke in the lounge. The curtains really smell when they go and it effects his asthma. They make such a fuss going outside so he gives in to them. No respect. They treat our home like a do what u want home. The oldest moved things round in the kitchen like tea coffee and sugar etc so I moved them back.
    The latest row we had was a few weeks ago, it was bank holiday and it wasn’t his weekend. My parents invited us over for a bbq. I thought excellent nice relaxing day we haven’t got the kids so we can relax. His ex asked if he wanted the kids sat day Sunday night and Monday of her weekend so he didn’t come to the bbq with me even though he and the girls were invited. So I had to go alone. I felt so upset he said if he gets any extra time with the girls he wants it as much as possible. He sees me everyday. I pointed out day to day is not the same as us having QUALITY time together. He reply was that his children will always come first over any woman he struggles with only seeing them 4 days a month. Whilst I can see this I truly can is it right to make me feel so worthless?
    His ex plays him like a violin, he just can’t see it. He gives her too much maintance for the money he gets and recently resulted in us being evicted from our home. She never turns up on time either dropping them off or picking them up. She says 6pm then we get a text saying she is still in London! The kids don’t leave till 8.30 sometimes, they have school next day I think this is unacceptable.
    Then it all goes back to normal till they come again.
    I think that there is a happy balance. I also think that some parents should also think how their actions are affecting their partners who every two weeks play and entertain children that are not theirs. Need to also remember there are two people in a relionship and not everything is about their children and their family, the other persons family is just as important.

  17. Samuel S. Haddad on July 5, 2015 at 1:25 am

    I would like to think that marriage demands that you love, and are devoted to your spouse. If you don’t have that, you don’t have a marriage. Certainly, children are to be loved and cherished, but to place the children above all other interests, makes the marriage meaningless. How could you go into a marriage wondering how much of their mother’s time you would be allowed to have? A major part of parenting is to model good behavior, which includes loving and respecting your spouse. What do you think children learn if they are calling the shots? They will learn that “me first” is their birth right. They will not learn to be considerate of others, and they will treat everyone, including their parents, as if they were servants.

    • Emma on July 6, 2015 at 6:40 am

      I more or less agree :)

  18. Sam on August 17, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    As the adult child of a mother who consistently put her boyfriends before her children ever since we were 12 and 8, I have to say: you have never been the child in a divorce, or you have only dated wonderful men. It is heartbreaking when your mother clearly cares more about some strange man than you. Some strange man who wants nothing to do with her kids, who doesn’t even care about -her-. You have never had to deal with being ditched by your mother for her boyfriend for no reason. He didn’t need her, they just decided to spend all day in bed rather than help you with whatever you really needed her help with. You have obviously never had a mother who would scream and yell at her eight year old children that they don’t want her to be happy simply because they might have hinted that they don’t like her boyfriend.

    You have one (or more!) failed relationship already. What makes you think this one will be better? Why is it worth the risk of damaging the relationship you have with your children? By all means, get out there, date, and enjoy yourself, but don’t for a second think he is more important than your children, because you will just drive them away. I want my mother to have a man who makes her happy, and yes I hope she has a wonderful sex life that I never hear about. But if I need her help, and she ditches me to watch movies with her boyfriend, don’t be surprised when I eventually stop calling.

    My dad has been in a relationship with the same woman ever since my parents first got divorced, and she is wonderful. They have both struck the balance between their relationship together and their relationship with their kids. That’s what it is, a BALANCE. Your dates are not more important than your kids,. They are differently important, but equally so.

    I realise you’re probably not talking about women like my mother, but when you say “you shouldn’t put your kids first”, I hope you realise that there are women like my mother who take that to heart in the wrongest way possible (I’m sure you do, but I’m having a bad day, obviously because my mother has let me down again. Sorry).

    • Sam on August 17, 2015 at 11:43 pm

      Sorry to make a second comment but I feel the need to add… my problem with my mom is not just that she keeps letting my siblings and I down, but that she also keeps dating men that don’t respect her. Sorry to clog up your comments, I’m just frustrated today and all my friends have gone to bed, so I need to vent somewhere, anonymously.

      • Emma on August 18, 2015 at 6:50 am

        Hi Sam – I’m glad you shared your experience. As you say, this post is not aimed at women like your mom, who it sounds like will prioritize men above their kids to fulfill their own needs. What I see is so many single parents (and married ones for that matter) so afraid of being like your mom that they swing to the other extreme – to the detriment of a good relationship and the health of their family.

  19. Carmen on August 27, 2015 at 1:43 am

    I so relate to the article. I am in a 2 year relationship where I live with my partner who feels as if my 6 year old from a previous relationship runs the show. I view him as uptight, childishly argumentative with her, and non understanding. I also feel like we moved in too quickly before really thinking about how these dynamics should work healthily and what it means to be in a partnership with our specific situation.He provides housing for us as he makes exponentially more than I do and is constantly resentful that I cannot pay rent and that my income goes toward my daughters private school. Meanwhile, I am starting my own business, attending school, doing a lot of odds and ends just to buy food and gas. I am resentful that he cannot assume financial responsibility for a bit so that I can find a life balance that allows me to be a contributing partner emotionally financially and otherwise. I now sleep in my daughters room in the extra twin bed because we cannot seem to make it through a day without an anger explosion. Its time for me move on and I can’t really afford to. So the lesson here for me was to not introduce too soon when dating and make sure things are really a relaxed fit before moving in. In my case there isn’t enough love left to try.

    • Emma on August 27, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Carmen — I really appreciate how reflective you are — not blaming and taking responsibility. Lessons learned, onward and upward.

  20. netflixnboxedwine on September 16, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    i was perusing the internet looking for an article on single parents and dating. i had not looked at things this way. since my divorce almost 3 years ago i have had 2 dates that ended badly and just gave up. I have been so wrapped up in my sons life that i have forgotten that i need one to. I can agree that it’s healthy and necessary to put your needs first sometimes. Happy mommy happy kid right? After reading this i dont feel bad about the needs and wants i have and wanting to pursue them.

    • Emma on September 19, 2015 at 8:37 am

      GREAT! Moms are people, too, ya know?

  21. MissDeee on October 3, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Dated a man with kids and I will NEVER do it again. It’s amazing to me people with no kids want to date those w/o the same baggage. How dare you come in my life, want to date me and want me to accept being a second class citizen out the gate. HECK NO!

    • Emma on October 4, 2015 at 4:40 pm

      Yeah, I agree … you made the right choice. xx

    • Jennifer on February 9, 2016 at 10:51 am

      High five!!

    • Diamond on July 8, 2016 at 1:31 am

      Preach!! Well said!

  22. B on October 9, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    I think people should stop thinking about it as a blended thing just on this topic alone. I know easier said than done BUT when a ‘still married with same kids couple’ maintains their relationship, usually it is because they stay on the same page. You can only put your significant other first with most things, some times the kids need to come first, again BUT, it is definitely a Parent Against Kids affair in any case, weather you are a ‘still married with same kids couple’ or dating someone with kids. The parent with kids, one or both, need to understand this concept and things roll on pretty darn good during those times…. its when one forgets and feels and makes the statement “well I don’t care…. that’s MY kid” when the time bomb blows up. Just food for thought and the decision should be made prior to entertaining the idea of a relationship with anyone. You MUST make a decision if you can or are willing to handle another WITH KIDS …. PERIOD. If you are not willing then begins the landslide…. again this is with both parties having a mutual understanding that it is us/you against kids…. not to be mean but even in a stay together family – this is the only strategy that works !! Enough babble – hope whoever reads can understand ….. ThanX

  23. Anonymous on October 15, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    I disagree with this article completely. I have a mom who always put her husband first. I moved out at 16 and our relationship never recovered. And guess what? She’s still unhappy in her crappy relationship with her husband. She says she regrets putting her husband first. It’s too late. I’m 26 and never moved home. Damage was done.

    • Cheery on February 8, 2016 at 10:33 am

      At age 26 why on earth would you think you should “move home”? Your parents raised you to be your own person and live your own life. Good for them.

  24. Anna on October 23, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    You are SO wrong. People who think like you, both men and women, are what is ruining society. It is hard enough for children to watch their families be torn apart. When someone new is introduced into the mix, they need to be reminded by mothers and fathers that they, their biological responsibility, the children they chose to have and raise within a family unit, are their most important concern until they reach an age where they are on their own. This doesn’t mean you can’t love your new significant other, but any new man or woman worth their salt will understand the importance of considering their children’s wellbeing above all else. Child psychology will back this up. Children from broken families do worse in school, have more anxiety, and the list goes on. This is likely because of selfish parents who handle it wrong. I grew up in a together family and watched as my friends had to endure mistreatment at the hands of step parents who were downright jealous and cruel to them. I watched as one selfish mother trotted man after man into the home (note: this is when female children are the most vulnerable to sexual abuse – especially the mother is bringing home men she met online! Predators look for single women with children) and they never had stability. They were miserable. The narcissism and selfishness of this generation knows no bounds. This article disgusts me.

    • Matt on November 25, 2015 at 10:12 pm

      Amen, glad to see there are still some people in this world who haven’t gone completely nuts.

  25. Shane on October 26, 2015 at 1:12 am

    This is a difficult topic to approach and you are brave to do so. So many valid points on both sides. As a child of divorce my father had other women to which i detest today for just making me one of the clan who came over for holidays and never allowed me to build a relationship with my dad. My mother abstained from any relationship for 15 years until i moved out and i had no male role models whatsoever. Now my 3 young girls are first on my life as their mum walked out. She left me not knowing who i was after 10 years of working long hours for my family. I was either working or with my family. I am slowly at 5 years working back to me and realise we need time for us, family, partner and each child. Quite a juggling act. I have tried the focus on relationship side, maybe i need to do more. But it tears me apart when my girls get close to someone and it all falls apart. I thought i found someone until yesterday. My 10 yr old broke down and told me how she has been so sad for so long amd she wants to kill herself. I wrapped her up in a big hug while on the verge of tears to take her home. I dound my gf as we were at a fete and explained what happened and i was going home with my kids to support my eldest. The response was a cold and angry “oh that’s bullshit she just doesn’t want to be around me”. That crossed the line and i ended it right there. I guess i haven’t found the right person who has the same balance of values morals and understanding as me. Isn’t that what we are looking for in the end despite our views or where we sit on a topic like this.

  26. Liney on November 7, 2015 at 11:09 am

    I agree that putting your relationship first is the right thing to do…BUT your children shouldn’t feel left out. I am happily married for the second time and about to have my 2nd child with my new husband, it would be my 4th overall. I have 2 girls from my previous marriage. In our home, the girls know that they are just as important as their stepfather and half siblings. Their needs te met, if they have a problem we address it together as a parental unit. We do many things as a family and of course we take time to ourselves as a couple. The kids don’t feel like they are second to our relationship. It’s a good balance. On the other hand, when the girls are w their dad (only every other weekend) they do whatever his girlfriend wants to do. He puts them at the bottom of the totem pole completely. If his girlfriend doesn’t want to go out, they don’t go anywhere. The girls spend the weekend sitting in front of the tv, playing video games and eating whatever crap he feeds them while he’s on the couch with her watching a movie. If they do go out with their fathers girlfriend, she barely says hello or speaks to them. To my ex, that is fine, that is normal. Maybe in the beginning, but it after a year and a half? No I don’t think that’s normal. It’s like she resents my children for existing. On the off chance that she’s not around and he takes them out, it’s never just the three of them, he brings his mother along to help him. My children are 9 & 7, he doesn’t need that much help, they are self reliant. My girls feel like their dad only cares about his girlfriend and only want to things with her. If I can’t take one of them to the doctor, it’s only natural for me to ask my ex to take them, but he NEVER does. He’s always too busy, too far, or to whatever. He tells me to call my mother-in-law. Like if she’s an extension of him somehow. I rely only on my current husband. He will drop anything for anyone of our kids. It saddens me that my girls don’t get the same treatment from their dad. But of course, if his girlfriend or her daughter need something, he leaves work, church, walk through fire, a lions den, anything to be able to help them. I’m not saying he shouldn’t give his partner importance, he should, but he shouldn’t disregard or discount his children to do it.

    • Amber on November 10, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      Hi, my name is Amber and I found your take on this article very interesting b/c the things you wrote sound a lot like how I imagine my s/o’s ex wife perceives our relationship as a couple, my relationship with their two daughters, and his with them as well. I write to you now, not to antagonize – but perhaps to gain a little perspective into the bio mom’s POV as well as to maybe offer you some perspective into the thoughts and feelings of the “other woman”.
      I of course don’t know any of you personally so I can only speak on the minor details you have shared here.
      First a little back story….

      I am a 31 year old woman. I am divorced but I have no children of my own. My partner is 9 years my senior, divorced, with two daughters: 11 & 15 he has 50/50 custody. We have lived together for 3 years. My s/o’s ex wife is remarried to a man that has a grown son and a 6 year old daughter – they also have a baby together.

      Now on to the meat and potatoes…

      I found it interesting that you said that in your home your girls know that they are just as important as the step father and the half siblings and that if there is a problem you address it as a family unit. The girls don’t feel like they are second. That is all great and as it should be (in both homes) ! Then you move on to say that when the girls are with their father they do whatever the girlfriend wants to do and if she doesn’t want to do anything they sit and watch TV.

      Is that accurate or is this what your girls are telling you?

      Again, I don’t ask to be negative, but in my very similar position I can tell you that perception is a B*tch.

      Let me tell you – the first few years around my parts were a breeze; an 8 year old and a 12 year old? Psh…. piece of cake. Then one of them became a teenager- and took the other metaphorically with her. All of a sudden I was to blame for everything.

      For example: the eldest wanted dad to take her to a rock concert on a school night. After deliberating on it for weeks he finally determined the answer was no. She blamed me. I had absolutely nothing to do with, but she blamed me. Dad is the cool rocker guy there’s no way he would’ve said no if it weren’t for me right? When big sis got mad at me, little sis followed suit – I was the bad guy.

      Sometimes its a simple day to day occurrence that’s really petty: girls want to go to the mall on a Saturday, I have an appointment until noon so dad says, “lets wait until we can all go as a family” I come home to grouchy girls who think everything is about me- when in actuality it was my s/o’s decision to wait and he wanted to wait because he is trying to strengthen us as family.

      And truth be told I’ve heard similar tales come from the girl’s mouths about their mother’s husband as well. I cringe when they regale us with mean things about their step dad because I know in the other house – its my name on their lips. The girl’s mom has told my s/o that she and the girls think he puts me before them- which sent him spiraling into a pit of guilt – understandably. I don’t think he puts me first, he doesn’t either- but because his girls perceive it that way … it is so.

      It is so easy for the bonus parent to be the scapegoat – its so much easier to be mad at one of us than the bio parent.

      I do want to applaud you for allowing your current husband to be your equal in your home together. As the “bonus” parent I do not feel like I have a voice when it comes to important matters. I can wash their dirty underpants, cook for them, monetarily support the household but I am not respected as any type of parent by any of them. My s/o tells me to stand up for myself if they start getting mouthy or rude, if they need to pick up after themselves- tell them! But when I do, I’m not the mother, I made a rude face when I said it, I sounded mean. I feel constantly scrutinized and picked apart. Not just by the girls but my s/o as well – he can tell me to go ahead and stand up for myself until he’s blue in the face but when I practice it- he doesn’t like it.

      I’m not trying to make this a pity party and again I don’t know the woman who your girls spend their time with but speaking from the step”monster role; I love both of my s/o’s girls but often feel like they could care less about me. I get my feelings destroyed on a regular basis- they can be so loving and so sweet – just not generally to me. I feel like a stranger in my home when they are with us and I so frequently am ignored or given the cold shoulder that I am ashamed to admit I don’t always initiate in depth conversations with them anymore – I’m almost …afraid of them… or not them as much as their rejection.

      I truly hope that in your situation at the very crux of it, all of the adults want the same thing: happy, comfortable, well-adjusted children and that you are all able to work together to accomplish that. I know that’s what I hope and pray for everyday.

      Best of Luck!

      • Sue G on June 24, 2018 at 11:58 am

        Hi Amber, how are things now? I can relate to your situation. I feel like I have fall out of love with my stepkids. I’ve been part of this family for a bit over 8 years and was relatively good until a year or so ago. I have no kids, are in my mid 40s and my partner in his 50s. Kids are now 17 and 20 (away at university), and a third one (18) full time with his mom (left around 4 years ago on his own will). When they are here, I try to give them space with their father, as I find difficult to show care and love. I never insult them, ask them or tell them anything, but now being quiet is bitting back at me. Their father has told me that if I dont like his kids and show care and love, this relationship cant continue. I dont mind them, I just dont like them. I was never allowed to teach them, correct them or ask anything since it was taken badly, so I said less and less and tried to look away. So I felt gradually through time, out of love with them. I still love my partner, bue everytime they are around my withdrawal is teken negative and things like not running to the door to welcome them, creat a big argument with my partner. I dont want to think this will be the breaking point, but it looks like it wont change. Any advice?

  27. Brandy on November 7, 2015 at 11:47 am

    I’m honestly very glad there are many people who agree with my views on relationship versus children. Although, I believe children are extremely important, I think if you’re in a committed relationship, you should put your potential wife/husband first, with your kids a close second.
    My boyfriend of almost two years now have just moved in together. We get his two girls every other weekend. They are sweet kids, but their level of respect they treat adults with is terrible. They argue, talk back, scream, and order adults to do their bidding. And when they do this to me, my boyfriend does nothing. I feel as though he couldn’t care less about how they treat me. It’s a really bad strain on our relationship, and I’m reaching a breaking point. I’ve tried talking to him about it, and it seems nothing is changing. In fact, I was just kicked out of our bedroom last night because his youngest wanted to sleep with him. So I was moved to the living room. Maybe I am just pitying myself, but I’m really upset. He would rather let his child take my place when he sleeps.

    • Emma on November 18, 2015 at 11:35 am

      Hi Brandy – sounds like you have to make some tough decisions here. Your boyfriend is not going to change, I’m afraid.

  28. Tikoya on November 8, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    This must be were my mom received her parenting advice. She is now happily married to a man that hates kids. However, she feels as though her dating life does not have anything to do with us, her children. Your children will spot someone that’s not right for you before anyone else, because they know you. In the beginning, he was perfect. The all around family man that makes everyone feel welcomed. Once they were married he was more open about cheating and his distaste for kids. Keep up the advice it will help these women have a wonderful relationship and disowned from their kids lives.

  29. Raegan on November 16, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    My dad was the same when it came to my stepmother – he put her and their relationship first. My sister and I were never neglected and our needs were always met. Our mum died when we were really young but our parents had already been divorced. He was the best dad a kid could have and he gave us the best childhood. He always made it clear that she was his wife and we were to treat her with respect as the adult/mother figure in our home. My sister didn’t like her and she made it clear. She made life hell for the both of them and my dad always stood by my stepmom and in my sisters eyes this was the ultimate betrayal. By age 17 she moved out and swore she’d never speak to my dad ever again. Its been 14 years since they last spoke or saw each other and she’s now married and has a family. He and my stepmom are still together which I admire. There’s some sadness in his voice whenever he talks about my sister, which breaks my heart. He has tried reaching out to her a number of times only to have ” YOU MADE YOUR CHOICE, NOW LIVE WITH IT ” thrown back in his face. My dad had the same “Kids grow up and move out so my needs and wants should come first” mentality and this is true, kids do grow up and leave the nest but how sure are you that they wont want anything to do with you?. I’ve tried talking to my sister but she’s so stubborn. He missed out on walking her down the aisle and he may never get a chance to meet his grand children ( aged 9 and 6). All my dad did was put his wife first and that cost him a daughter.

  30. Jessica Gonzalez on November 16, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    I never imagined how many ppl actually go through situations like this. Makes me not feel “alone”. Let me share my story, and all the input I can get would be really helpful as I feel like I’m losing it! I have been living w/my bf for a little over 2 years. He was with his ex for 15 yrs and had 2 boys-a now 14 year old and an 8 yr old. I came out of a bad relationship too. I have a now 5 yr old daughter from this relationship. Once I started dating my bf, his ex started telling his boys that he wanted to kill them (have an abortion), that he didn’t want them, that he did DNA test on them, that he was going to treat me like a queen when he treated her like crap, that they didn’t have to respect me or like me, not to be nice to me, etc. They left each other when she decided to move out b/c she found her “past lover”. My bf got with her after she got pregnant with his first. When my bf first moved in (my house), he had quit talking to his oldest b/c his oldest decided not to be around him b/c he “had a girlfriend he did not like”. The youngest came w/daddy all the time regardless of what the mother poisoned them with. I respected him for that. My bf continued being a great dad-tried going to baseball games even though his oldest ‘demanded’ he not be there. He always asked if I was going somewhere when he was invited and if I was, he wouldn’t go. His youngest got a cell phone when school started. The oldest constantly asked for one. The ex would send me messages on social sites telling me they still had their “something something” going on, etc. I doubt that happened. After everything she has done to those kids, I’d think so less of my bf for even trying to be w/some1 like her. His oldest decided to come around so he could get a cell phone, clothes, etc. The mother, I must say, does nothing for these kids financially. She goes weeks w/o picking them up. The oldest has decided to not stay at my house (which I’m thankful for), he stays at his g-mas. The youngest stays with us. I must also mention that I have a 5 month old baby girl with my bf. The oldest once apologized to me for being disrespectful and I was “ok” with him being around, but our relationship never was good. I couldn’t stand him, nor could he stand me. While playing recently, I pushed the youngest a little-his father was there & was actually the one that said “get him, push him back”. He went and told his mother I hit him & of course, this woman now decided to be the mother of the year and text my bf calling me a dumb “b” and every other word in the dictionary. I called & confronted her. The oldest called me a B on the phone, she was so proud of her son for doing that. My bf was very upset, disconnected his phone and basically sent his son to hell, but than told me that I had to accept the younger one back in my home or he was leaving me. I do not want my baby around these kids so I’m letting a few things go-they are very cold-hearted kids. I have come to believe that the oldest doesn’t love his father-he only uses him for what he can get out of him. I feel like my boyfriend is willing to lose everything-a good woman and a happy life for his daughter in hopes that he’ll get his oldest to love him one day. My bf has informed me that he will be going away on weekends to spend time w/his boy and I will not be welcome to come b/c his son does not like me and vise versa. There was no other discipline and when he decides to come around again, he’ll be welcome and the subject will never be brought up to him. I don’t expect that he choose between his kids and I, I do expect him to discipline his kids to the point they understand I am his partner, the mother of his baby and the woman who welcomed them w/open arms until they started falling for their moms games. I feel like I’m in a touch situation. I have made felt so insignificant and the one that will lose it all if his kids decide to disrespect me again b/c as he said, if it happens again, he’ll pack his stuff and leave. I am a good woman. I have breakfast and lunch packed for this man, clean and folded clothes, etc. I fear that these boys will be around my oldest (which is nothing to them). I cannot allow them in my home, God forbid they do something to her. I cannot stand the fact of me leaving the boyfriend to be able to live a peaceful life and my baby be around these kids who only want to cause me problems. Aren’t they at the age they should understand? Any suggestions…

  31. GIGI on November 20, 2015 at 7:59 pm


    • William on November 25, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Sounds to me like your daughter should have put the child first…. and not her man.

      • Jacquie on December 17, 2015 at 9:46 am

        In the case of in tact families… Of course the marriage of the child(ren)s bio parents should come first… It is a totally different scenario than kids being forced to accept some new person & take a back seat to the person they would never know off their divorced parent wasn’t fucking them. That is unfair in my opinion. That doesn’t sound fair at all to make a child respect & welcome some new person simply because their parent is screwing them. Of the family is in tact & healthy… Parents would put their marriage first meaning they continue to date each other but also that they are a united tram as they are regularly everyday invested together in the raising & rearing of their children. Usually the new person is not nearly as invested in regularly raising someone else’s kids whole heartedly. This is an article to make dating single parents feel good about ignoring their kids & the new partner’s attempt to try & be number one in a person’s life when that person should be continuing to everyday be available to invest necessary time into their children. They would be that invested if they would have stated married & in a healthy balanced marriage to the kids other bio parent. That is what a family life would look like. This advice takes a parent away from the time they should be investing into the family they helped create. I stopped dating for that very reason. No my kids are not over privileged over entitled brats. I teach them. I guide them. I show them the world. Most important… I don’t have some new person’s contradictory values influencing my kid’s upbringing. I have a large social network. I am very active in my community. I am a performer & I get involved in projects my kids can be a part of, learn from, and develop their own skills in. This is all what I would do if I were still married to their dad. Having an active full life as a single or divorced parent doesn’t mean having sex. I have been celibate for almost a year & I have a secure for partnership but my devotion to what I do in my community, & what I can share with my kids when not working thru unnecessary relationship drama is much stronger for me these days. I am very attractive & I have more than my share of guys who would jump at the chance to date me… But I just don’t want it right now & my life is incredibly full. I wouldn’t trade the relationship I now have with my kids for any love affair ever. We are very close & I am so thankful I first invest in my family. This article & most of these posts sound so incredibly SELF ABSORBED. All you are doing is justifying a life that mainly served you first… Not the family you helped to create…divorce or not. Grow up & stop only thinking 28th you genitals.

        • Jacquie on December 17, 2015 at 9:52 am

          Sorry for the mis-spell… Auto correct on my phone sucks.

        • brigitte on May 29, 2016 at 9:32 am

          Well said. Share your perspective!
          You are spot on. Parent’s owe it to their children to raise them as close as possible to the way they would have been raised on the intact marriage without the turbulance of outsiders competing for dominant positions, having priority in relationships, rescources, reshaping daily living patterns, bringing in different value systems, foreign priorities and coping with another adult outsiders ambivalent attitudes.

          Nor should kids risk suffering from repeated losses of the no intention to commit/or remain irresponsibly easygoing,essentially nice, heaps of fun, easily “picked up” generally much younger date partner.This non invasive adult is in couch surfing mode. He/she often becomes the kids great activity mate, skateboarding, sharing latest dance moves,X- box role play games etc..He/she clicks better with the kids -they have the mutual loss grief when relationships over.It ends when parent person realises sex is all that’s shared in common.

          Fact is, it’s mainly the stupidly niave, the dateless desperates, loosers or the personality disordered deviants who choose to invade a step household with kids under 18 for the long term.

          Divorced persons with kids can go out occasionally with people who want to share a some fun outings etc.It would be well enough adjusted types who haven’t any immediate long term intent and very happy to give your family life a wide berth.These are the normal healthy people who have situations or stages of their life where temporarily they aren’t in a position to date people who would hope for something serious long term. Yet just like the sensible divorced parent, they would still like to share some company over mutual interest areas from time to time. Makes for a mutually complimentary dating pool.

  32. William on November 25, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Here’s a note to all, there’s a way to put your woman first, and still put your kids first… it’s called managing time correctly. …….I’ve lived it and I’ve dealt with it… long enough to know that yes, your kids come first, but, not over everything, they shouldn’t be allowed to make rules or adjust any situation in the household, a man shouldn’t allow his kids to come completely over his girlfriend, but there’s a proper place and time for it………..and of a woman can’t handle a little attention away from her for a small fraction of time, then she needs help, especially if she has kids of her own….

  33. Matt on November 25, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    You are referencing some pretty extreme examples. If I had kids and the relationship didn’t work, any woman would have to understand my kids would always outrank her, each situation would have to be evaluated – I mean, no, I would not leave a date because my tween had an argument with his coach, but say for example it is Christmas and my new spouse wants me to go spend it with her family as opposed to keeping a tradition I had with my kids, she is going to lose that one for sure, and if she can’t accept that then I’ll just stay single.

    Suggesting she should be an equal to my kids is flat out crazy, they are my flesh and blood, girlfriends can come and go. I must say if I was kid I would find your mentality very unsettling to say the least and it would seriously damage the way I looked at you as my mother.

    I haven’t read “The Book of Love”, but I wonder, was she speaking of married biological parents, or single moms out dating? I also don’t think most people are condemning anyone for enjoying sex, for Pete’s sakes stop walking around with this silly persecution complex, if you enjoy sex I’d even say it’d be better for you to go have a physical relationship on the side and leave your kids out of it rather than get serious with a man who you are going to shove your kids aside for whenever there’s a conflict between the two.

    • brigitte on May 29, 2016 at 10:22 am

      You’ve got the perfect perspective.

      People also need to ask what’s the deficiency or deviancy in persons who think that they can persue a constructive partner relationship with a divorced parent of kids under 18?

      Furthermore, you know that the divorced parent of kids under 18 attempting to repartner is generally an inadequate parent.

      Beligerant and /or clueless re raising children, likewise re basis for building constructive relationship. Such seem without a conscience in parenting children responsibly, or issues of fairness to partners unconcerned that often the latter aspects are mutually exclusive.

      Finish raising the fledlings in the nest. That’s what birds do even when have lost a partner. When they’ve flown you can make new nest filling it with new birds.

  34. debbie finn on November 29, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Some of you need to re-read, and read between the lines as the author mentioned. She is not saying to ignore or neglect your children. She is not advising you to pawn them off on anyone and everyone so you can go out and whoop it up. She is saying that if you want to do something for your children, for your family unit, put your marriage or relationship first. I get that. You have to invest your time and effort into your partner in order to build a secure relationship with that person. If you do that, your kids will be happy. Think about it. It makes sense. (However, I do get a kick out of the people who call the author stupid, yet can’t seem to put a coherent sentence together. So thanks for the comedy relief.)

    • Emma on November 29, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks Debbie – I gave up trying to argue with those folks long ago :) xxx

    • Jamie on December 27, 2015 at 6:32 am

      It’s a sign of very emotionally immature people who are only capable of the most basic black and white thinking. In their overly-simplistic minds, making your partner a priority means completely abandoning and neglecting your kids, as if it’s some dark Victorian melodrama. But I think their real problem is that these are people who feel entitled to all the conveniences and benefits of a relationship, without making any effort in return and they mistakenly believe their kids are the ultimate sacred trump card that entitles them to this. And it makes them boiling mad to see people call them out on their bullshit. Why they think they’re so special and wonderful that they deserve a relationship with someone they’re too lazy to make a priority is beyond me. I can see why so many of them are divorced.

      • Diamond on July 8, 2016 at 12:44 am

        Well said, Jamie!

    • brigitte on May 29, 2016 at 11:34 am

      The relationships where another the adult relationship exist, the properly consolidated ones, where the adult’s relationship’s take constructive prioritising mutually … can give children security.Yet this IS NEVER part of the dating stage relationship!It only applies to the committed shared lives arena, marriage type situations.

      The dating stage begins and runs essentially seperate from the childrens lives. It needs to fit in with the childrens primary needs being catered for and protected.

      That doesn’t mean children get to eliminate well organised re secure predictable childminding options for occassional parental abscences. Such may include special occasion outings, work functions, dinners/movies with friends and even dating.

      While someone is just “only a date”, they ought to get the same respect over that arrangement and during that time as would be enforced were it a work dinner for networking, your brother’s 3 am return from overseas airport pick up.

      So don’t being too ready to cancell, take calls from kids, and then leave early.Enacting organised respectful behaviour allows you to indirectly, but strongly be commanding the respectful treatment you need, others acceptance of your boundaries and needs. Includes kids, friends, work … future partners even.

  35. shereene on December 4, 2015 at 12:45 am

    I need some advice and maybe I am wrong in this but my boyfriend doesnt want me to attend my sons concert or he will end it with me? I have explained that I dont go there to see my ex (who will definitly be there because its his child too) I go to see my child. Its moments like this that I dont want to miss in his life because they grow so quickly, my mom missed all of mine and I dont want to do that to my child. It feels like Ive been put in a situation where I am being asked to choose him or my child and I cant do that. Its not right. I have been given an ultimatum and have been told I can still change my mind and not go but if I go he will never forgive me.

    • Dan on December 5, 2015 at 3:18 am

      That’s precisely what he wants you to do (choose between him and your child). If you listened to the author of this article, you would choose the man. If you were a half-decent mother, you would choose your child. Make your choice.

      Btw, observe the named phenomenon of neanderthal step-father who can’t deal being around someone else’s kid: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella_effect

    • Anthea on December 8, 2015 at 12:56 am

      He is a loser. You should never have to choose!

    • Diamond on July 8, 2016 at 12:41 am

      Well, Shereene, if you often cancelled dates and didn’t really make time for him, I understand why he gave you such an ultimatum. I say, if this concert is a once in a lifetime type of event, then go, regardless of what your boyfriend says. If he breaks up with you, then so be it. But if your son has a concert very often, I’m pretty sure it’s not much of a deal if you miss one.

  36. Dan on December 5, 2015 at 3:16 am

    “A strong relationship provides security for your children and demonstrates how a loving, respectful partnership should be. What could be more important?”

    Oh, I don’t know… Maybe not marrying a scumbag who overtly hates your child and abuses him at every turn? Maybe that might be more important than a “loving respectful partnership”? I am 34 years old and I am still fucked up because of the man my mother chose to be with and ultimately marry. I would have killed that bastard long ago if not for the fact that he and my mother had my half-brother who I love dearly (and who loves me).

  37. Alex Landry on December 5, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    She’s 100% correct- I’m sick of men who say their kids are the center of their universe-tell that to the judge in their divorce hearing. That’s probably why this marriage failed in the first place. Our culture is too kid focused anyway-ladies, I say “next” if you run into the weekend super dad-he won’t make time for you, and you’ll be ex no.2/3/4-life’s too short!

    • Alex Landry on December 5, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      My current husband drives me insane with his obsession over his damned kids- he feels bad that he had a poor father so he over compensates now and he’s missing the boat on being a good husband/ men who say their kids are their world forget they r on a dating site! I got married to have the relationship be no.1 focus, not number 3 or 4-don’t think it will get better because I’m 5years into the relationship and it’s still all about his kids-pisses me off

    • Anthea on December 8, 2015 at 12:54 am

      So agree with you. I have a happy son who is always courteous towards my boyfriend. It’s not that i put him after my SO but he knows I have my own life too and. If I am not happy then that affects my life around him too

    • Diamond on July 8, 2016 at 12:33 am

      So true!

  38. Anthea on December 8, 2015 at 12:45 am

    I couldn’t have said it any better , and it doesn’t mean we love our children less. we love them in a different way than loving a partner

  39. NIc on December 9, 2015 at 11:32 am

    I understand a lot of the comments its not all about the kids I HAVE TWO and believe me they can be quite manipulative to parents when there are separated families but its a parents ADULTS responsibility to not let CHILDREN rule the roost (or ex wives/husbands) or u will end up with some pretty BRATTY ADULTS later on in life….so good luck with that.

    I was engaged and pregnant by a man who told me he was awaiting a divorce and had been separated from his wife for 5 years and she even had a boyfriend and he had a string of ex’s. He never had a good word to say about her I had to listen to how bad their marriage was all the time. When our baby was 4 months old wedding dress bought etc… I found out from ex wife approaching me and my son in the street (to ridicule me she ignored me and cooed over my son, as my fiancé stood by and watched) so I did some digging AND FOUND THE TRUTH.

    He was living with her and moved out 1 month before our engagement and she KNEW ALL about me. They were still sharing a bed and having sex right up until he moved out and with other people . A month after our engagement their divorce was final (I later found out but had previously told him no engagement till divorce final HE LIED ABOUT THAT TOO). She accepts all my expensive many gifts for her kids but has never even had the decency to say hi to me or thank me for all the gifts I bought her kids etc…I never had a problem with anyone …why would I? UNTILL I had my baby and the games started and later the truth came out, they always use their children as weapons to get at each other and even me and my son keep getting dragged in! I suffered severe post natal depression and mental health problems as a result of all they have put me through and my bond had been broken for a year and a half with my son. My ex fiancé lies through his teeth about everything and she won’t speak to me to resolve.

    I LOVE KIDS but I washed my hands of their kids and them because my son and I are last or not at all and them and their kids are the reason. I know its not the kids fault but I can’t take anymore and now I resent them I HAVE TRIED to understand but I can’t bond with them kids now ALL I see is him and his ex wife and all they have done to me and our son. I am heartbroken and he doesn’t care they have turned everyone against me. My family and friends are hurt and hate him its a mess. BUT GUESS who is the big bad wolf wicked step mum now who rejected their kids. When ex wife needs help he’s THERE anything she needs ‘for the kids’ even if she decides she needs to drop them off last minute for anything its ok which is usually to spoil our plans EVEN THOUGH HE HAS THEM EVERY WEEKEND (so he should) and the rest when she’s sick etc but she won’t do it for him and he won’t do it for me. And I have to shut up and deal with it because …’its for the kids’ and apparently I am jealousof 2 innocent children (the eldest stirs trouble not innocent). They easily forget how what they have done affects me and my son but I have to be sensitive to their co parenting relationship ‘choke’ and their daughters who manipulate this whole situation as much and I have been nothing but kind and patient as I can.

    I have had it I hate them all and OUR SON never gets considered or my feelings for all they have both put us through. As long as ‘the kids’ are ok meaning their 2 daughters then I can just like it or lump it. Every time I have tried to leave him he punishes me and our son by disappearing for weeks on end not calling etc and messing us around with payments, so i have to be extra nice to him to try get him to treat me and my son with the respect we deserve. EX WIFE gets every penny and all the help he does NOTHING for us but HE LOVES ME and doesn’t want her LOL but completely defends ALL her bad things she does. Yes they still live a five minute walk from each other while I am miles away living with our son (long distance relationship) I know nothing he calls them in secret tells me half truths. And he’s walked out on us yet again and I have no idea where he is maybe with her who knows?

    Fed up of them and their friends branding me the evil step mum and me and my son rejected.

  40. nicole on December 9, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Some of the people commenting on this amaze me.. We are raising a generation for spoiled brats because they feel entitled to everything and that nothing else in the world could ever be as important. That is quite frankly BS! I was raised by my maternal grandparents, and guess what? We were well loved and taken care of, we wanted and needed for nothing, but their marriage was priority one!! I have never seen a love as strong as what they shared ..I wish I could find the same!!! Making your marriage or love life priority one doesnt mean youre neglecting your kids…some people have the entirely wrong idea here. You are showing them what is healthy for the future!! Kids are watching how you treat your significant other and they WILL likely do the same some day. Think about that…

    • Emma on December 11, 2015 at 8:56 am


    • Anna on July 8, 2016 at 12:31 am

      Very well said, Nicole! My husband and I are about to start our little family, neither of us has any kids yet. Our marriage will always come first. :) I’ve also noticed that in all the happy, strong, and balanced marriages spouses always put each other first. I feel like a lot of people think that not putting your kids first means not taking care of them. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

      • Emma on July 11, 2016 at 1:29 pm


  41. nicole on December 9, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    There are plenty of ways to put your relationship first WITHOUT making your child feel neglected. Why does it have to be all or nothing with most of you?? A childs NEEDS will ALWAYS come first..but a childs WANTS don’t always have to come first and they shouldn’t come before our needs either. The love we have for our kids in unconditional..they love we have for an inrimate parter is not..so if you’re not willing to put in some work, it likely wont last..and so many people cant understand why they cant keep someone around…

    • Emma on December 11, 2015 at 8:56 am

      THANK YOU!

      • BOB on December 11, 2015 at 10:34 am

        I would like to agree with you Emma as someone who has dated and currently dating someone with a kid it is difficult and its even more difficult to explain your position of we are each others priority and the child is OUR priority especially when that person was in a bad relationship prior and feels the only person who will ever love them is their kid, so they are a push over as a parent and some how manage to insert their kid into every scenario, i came from a stable home and my parents spent time together alone not to the neglect of their kids, but for their happiness and in turn were able to spread that happiness to us

  42. Anonymous on December 11, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    (robinsonbuckler @ yahoo. com) is a wonderful spell caster. Very trustworthy, he just restored my marriage…….

  43. Adam on December 13, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Just to poke the bear: One thing that may have been overlooked when mentioning that single-dad’s could stand to loosten-up about their commitment to their kids – Is the additional effort single-dad’s need to make to be with their kids.

    We have traditionally had to jump through more hoops and go through more trouble to get our kids than the moms do; which could be why some of us are a little overzealous.

    Not saying we should be, just saying that: When you have to spend a year being a weekend dad and filing paperwork in order to see your kids… You might become a little too possessive of your little treasures, and a little more jaded.

    • Emma on December 16, 2015 at 11:03 am

      Great point, and well said.

  44. Rita on December 14, 2015 at 5:06 am

    I feel so many essential elements of a balanced and healthy partnership are missing from relationships between a single person and a single parent particularly when the single parent is really bad at parenting, prioritising, and lacking of proper perspective. First, with most single parents always saying “My Kids Always Come First” even if they are already engaged or married to someone are basically saying: you are not my partner in life, your needs are not equal to mine or the rest of my family, you are an outsider in this family, and you have no say in day-to-day and big decisions that affect your life too.

    I think if you are, say, only 30% available and committed to someone for whatever reason (because 70% of your time, devotion, loyalty, resources are for kids, ex-wife, etc) then the same rule that applies to anyone applies to you. You are not in the position to start a relationship with anyone. Uh, OK you are super dad and you think I should understand that I come in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th (after my kids, ex-wife, job) but what’s in it for me? You have to be some kinda superwonderful god for me to to want to be with you after that declaration. We have nothing against you having kids and being divorced, for sure kids should be loved and cared for and sure divorcee deserves a second chance in life, but it doesn’t mean they are a free pass for you to be a sloppy at being soulmate/lover/human being. You are “divorced dad/mom”, NOT Special.

    What about love, you say? What if you love me very much? See love is what you do, not what you say.

    I agree with one poster in another site about it being a “divorce thing”. There are parents that do not have this prioritisation problem and their kids do not have drama over them being devoted spouses and not being there 24/7. I did notice that those who put the kids as center of their universe appear to have shitty relationship with their spouse or are just not in love with their spouse.

    • Heather on December 28, 2015 at 2:05 pm

      Rita, I wish I could ‘like’ this post. Every single point you made is valid and accurate. I read it twice. Thanks for the insight and wisdom.

    • Anna on July 8, 2016 at 12:18 am

      Well said, Rita, I agree with every word.

      I’m married and I don’t have kids yet, my husband doesn’t have any kids either, however we are about to start our own little family. I totally agree, the spouses/partners need to put each other first. A marriage/relationship should be based on LOVE and in order to privide a a safe, happy, and balanced background for the children, the relationship/marriage itself and the love between the partners/spouses should be nourished.

    • Sarah Humphreys on November 12, 2018 at 7:54 pm

      Rita. I love this post and agree 100% . I have seen profiles that said my kids come first. And I agree with you Rita, it says to women you will never be that important to me. It’s like they feel like they are in the running to win father of the year and the prize is a trip to Disneyland for them and their kids lol. I believe if people cannot commit to a relationship and be a great parent at the same time dont be in a relationship. People should work on any hang ups or concerns they have about their past relationships or any anxieties about their children coping or whatever before committing to another relationship. Going into a new relationship with past issues or concerns is unfair on the individual, their potential partner and on the children. Children need to see what a loving relationship looks like while being loved and cherished also. How parents manage their relationships and their parental responsibilities is strictly up to the parent. They are the adults. It’s difficult but I believe it’s possible.
      Helping a child to cope with the fact their parent has a partner if that is the issue, needs to be done sensitively empathizing, modeling respect, giving time, encouraging them to talk about how they are feeling without being rude and disrespectful to partner etc. This is what is needed when a child acts out. They dont need to be red carpet children as I have seen it described, and rule the roost. They want to feel loved, that they are understood like their parents get them.The same goes for a partner if they are having concerns. Listen to them, tell them they are loved and appreciated, empathize, make time etc. They need to feel like their partner understands them too especially if the partner has no children or if they have different parenting styles, attitudes towards relationships etc. I believe this is what the author of the original article is trying to say.

  45. jenn on December 15, 2015 at 11:27 am

    People are always quick to be negative and defensive. Of course having kids makes them come first in so many ways but…..Kids also very much need to see Mom have her own life. They do need to see that not everything revolves around them. That does not mean Mom is not there through thick and thin and no matter what. It means Mom has value too. It teaches them to know that Mom is indeed a person with needs as well and they can learn empathy and understanding. Moms, even single Moms able to have their own lives separate from the kids is healthy. The shaming of this idea is awful. This Mom is not selfish but being normal and healthy, acknowledging her own needs and in the end, Mom will be a better one.
    I have been on dating sites where men say the kids comes first. I love that the man is valuing his children and a great parent..That’s hot. But it sometimes leaves me feeling that I would never hold importance in his life. I am in any relationship for life but dating and marriage have turned into temporary things in today’s world. To me, marriage is family and secure and I would do everything and anything for my partner.

    • Emma on December 16, 2015 at 11:01 am

      “But it sometimes leaves me feeling that I would never hold importance in his life. ”

      Same here!

    • Diamond on July 8, 2016 at 12:12 am

      I completely agree with you, Jenn!

      So many single parents are defensive, negative, and quite bitter. Even though I am not a single parent, I understand where they are coming from, being a single parent must be hard. BUT, if they are REALLY looking for a long-lasting relationship, they should drop the “My kids come first, just deal with it!” attitude. Their relationships can’t be long-lasting ones if the partner is always made felt like the forever third wheel in the relationship. Not a lot of people are willing to put up with that especially if they themselves don’t have any children on their on. Boundaries need to be set, and children shouldn’t be let to run the life of adults.

  46. NIc on December 15, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Rita and Jen,

    I totally agree with what you both say who wants to waste a life on a MAN/WOMAN who treats their children and ex wife like a spouse or a spoiled brat while we ‘outsiders’ look on and rarely matter. 4 years I wasted on my ex fiancé for this. I have a 16 year old daughter from a previous relationship and a 19 month old son with ex fiancé.

    I am a good mother my children are my priority they are happy and loved but they are children and they are not entitled to run my private life. I would not encourage it either. They are not a priority over my spouse unless its for a GOOD reason, something that for example if my relationship may threaten their well-being….which is doubtful I would remove us from that situation as a result my eldest is very secure and confident and knows her boundaries. She certainly would not say I was a bad mother and I have had a couple of crappy relationships. She doesn’t even remember them so that goes to show how much she was affected. I was careful how I managed situations and she always knew she was the child and sometimes adults have to do other stuff without children. Shame my ex could not figure this one out.

    My ex claims he divorced his ex wife for her spoiled brat attitude it destroyed their marriage (she is a spoiled brat) so why would he divorce her for those reasons but allow his children to act like it. His daughters have been very condescending to me on many occasions and if I dare say I was upset about anything that his kids and ex did (which they crossed many boundaries where I kept quiet) if I dare say anything he would deny, sugar coat it or say I had something against his kids!! Even though I treated them like my own. Until I got absoloutely fed up of them constantly in our faces they see him more than my son and I. Then the constant plan changes at the drop of a hat because he couldn’t say NO, because he didn’t want the stress from the ex wife or upset his daughters. Maybe he thought potentially they may have an assumption he is a bad father (he isn’t TO THEM but he is to OUR SON because he’s too busy trying to be super dad to his precious girls and manipulative ex wife to care about his new relationship and son. WE ARE NOW NOT GETTING MARRIED NOR TOGETHER and he doesn’t care. I have hundreds of pounds worth of wedding items locked in a cupboard and on anti-depressants raising 2 kids alone with NO WEEKEND DADDY.

    so where did that leave my kids then WHILE HIS WERE CENTRE OF HIS UNIVERSE only his daughters HE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH OUR SON…..

    • Heather on December 28, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      NIC I’ve been there!!! You say it best, BOUNDARIES are IMPORTANT!!

      I know it’s not much consolation, but consider yourself lucky. My ex brings nothing but drama and misery into our lives under the guise of spending time with our daughter when he is only using her to try to provoke me into getting angry. I’m not going to stop him from seeing her but trust me when he sees her, he spends most of the time trying to anger me with comments and not trying to spend real time with his child. There are days that I wish my ex would just disappear. My hubby is a MUCH better, attentive father than he ever was. But I know I can’t deny the time he does spend with her. I hope things get better for you.

    • Diamond on July 8, 2016 at 12:03 am

      Well said, Nic.

      Single mothers with “My kids will always come first, deal with it!” attitude, take notes. Putting your partner/spouse first doesn’t mean not taking care of your kids. It means not letting your kids run your private life.

  47. Cary Opteris on December 23, 2015 at 10:54 am

    I’m dating a guy with a great kid. He asked me to move in. His one daughter lives with her mom and has a great life there with parents that are well off because mom dumped my boyfriend as soon as she started making money, even though he supported her through her college and being out of work, etc. So with my boyfriend’s job, he doesn’t get to see his daughter a lot, and I help out with logistics of driving her back home as needed, or picking her up. This child has grandparents, aunts and uncles. She is loved and adored by all, and they all flock to all of her events. I work and have a long commute and have just a few obligations and interests of my own, and I don’t always go to ever event or parade she’s in. She tells her dad this is hurtful and then I get a lecture from him. Now dad and daughter do things together without me – sometimes there just isn’t money for 3 to go, and all of the expensive things are the two of them. When we go out for dinner, who pays 80% of the time? Me. So I feel like I’m doing my part and helping the whole system work. But if we go to a movie, the daughter tries to dictate that she sits between my boyfriend and me instead of him sitting in the middle. When I was a child, I had no say in anything – I was one of 4 and I did not have an opinion anybody wanted to hear. If we were going someplace, I just had to shut up and go. I certainly didn’t have the gall to tell people who could sit next to whom. It is logical to me that in a theater, he sits in the middle so we can both talk to him. He is the reason his daughter and I even know each other, and while I give her all the time with her dad she wants, I don’t think it’s right to physically be in between us. Also, if her dad is watching TV on his bed, she hops onto my side of the bed without asking, making me feel she is not respecting my space and is pushing me out. I think she should ask her dad to make room and he should slide over and make room for her instead of taking over my side of the bed. Boyfriend thinks that’s being ridiculous. I think his daughter is great, but I think everybody feels sorry for her because her parents divorced, and they give her her way constantly, and then expect me to do the same. I don’t insert myself between her and her dad, so I don’t see why she should do it to me. If she wants her dad to herself, then I don’t see why I should go with them anywhere when she comes over. My boyfriend wants me there – well of course he does – I help pay for things! So why am I treated like the stepchild while his child is treated like royalty? I am at least an equal, and now that I’m adult, why is the child running things? I wish every child was #1 in their parent’s or at least SOMEBODY’s life. But since when in life does somebody have to be #1 in every person’s life? That’s not balanced or normal. If she didn’t have a mother, it would be a completely different situation, but she has an A+ mother. Anybody would wish to have such a mother.

    • Heather on December 28, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      Cary, I’m glad your recognize that his ex is an A+ mother but first please consider this. You say your bf’s ex left as soon as she started making money. I have learned that people only tell half of the truth when they’re talking about their exs. When they’re complaining about their ex, you have to listen hard to hear their role in it. I did the exact same thing, I left my ex when I started making real money. Not because I was devil spawn, but because he was abusing me emotionally, psychologically and financially. I was giving him my unemployment check to help with bills and then giving him my whole check when I got part time work and he would have hundreds of dollars in his pocket and would not give me anything. He would make me pay ALL of my income to help with bills but would not share anything with me to take care of myself. So I just wanted to put that out there first that just because she moved on after she got a job doesn’t mean that she was the bad guy.

      But I really posted this to say. RUN. I empathize with you. That is how 5 year nightmare started. Everything revolved around his son and he would sleep with his dad up until we broke up (he was 15 years old!! And he slept on my side of the bed when I was working). I thought it was strange that a 15 year old boy would still sleep in bed with his dad but it was a competition to him.

      When I was pregnant, his son would compete with our daughter and he would always win. He would force our daughter away and sit on his dads lap, so that he could have all of daddys attention and daddy never corrected him.

      On top of that, the two of them abused me for 5 years. I would do nice things for them and they would scoff and treat me like the child. I would do things in sons best interest and get eye rolls and ugliness from the both of them. I suspect that daddy wanted to be the only one that his son liked and son wanted the same.

      I never got between them but his son was always royalty, even when we had a daughter (who should’ve been daddy’s princess), he treated his son like a princess instead.

      Let me tell you that it does NOT get better. If you value your sanity, your self-worth, self-esteem, or your dignity, get away as fast as you can. I have moved on and found that these cases are extreme but most men actually WANT a lasting union with their partners. My hubby has kids that we absolutely get along with and we merge as a family because we both respect each other and our kids know we are a team.

    • Diamond on July 7, 2016 at 11:59 pm

      Run as fast as you can. This is the prime example of what happens when a child is “being put first”. This goes for married parents who raise their own children in a “regular” family as well. Don’t let your children run the show, people.

  48. Jewels on December 23, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    I seriously FEEL for you. I am a single mom of three and it gets Very hard. I was with my son’s father for almost a decade and he had some serious issues I made the decision to leave. Then I was with my daughters father for almost three years; knew of him in high school and I had to make a decision to leave because he chose to Always put his childhood family specifically his mother Before me. She would call and text him 24/7 and I learned about mother-son Enmeshment and that is WHY i chose to leave. Now, I run my own two businesses online but it gets so lonely as my children are very small (ages 1, 2 & 6). But I choose to put them first because of how I was the Least favored child out of three and my emotional needs were pushed aside and my Narcissistic mother chose to put my stepdad First even when he attempted to sexually molest me. So now I have trust issues and I have seen therapists and just feel so Alone. Sometimes life Sucks and nobody close to me understands. But I just deal with it because I’ve made my bed and now I’m laying in it, taking responsibility for my children when their fathers are only wanting to be involved to their convenience. I Wish I had a Better upbringing and much Better role models. I would have certainly picked better men for the fathers. I am not blaming anyone but recently I have come to realize what is acceptable and unacceptable treatment from our mates. However I plan to be single until I’m 40 because I know what it is like to be the little child put on the backburner and neglected and abused and I Don’t want my kids to feel that it is the Most horrible feeling when your mother doesn’t have time for you and she leaves you home to get abused by her husband

  49. Lucia on December 27, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    My kids will always comes before any man…They come before me as well…My kids will grow up with all the love I have to give to them so they can pass that love right back at someone and know how it feels to love someone the right way….My kids come first…my oldest is 10 and she is so grateful for me she said I deserve to be put first but I tell her that, as long as I’m living on this earth her and her 3 sisters will always come before me and anyone else who decides to enter the home…and if a man cannot accept that then he can see himself out the door with all his things…my kids are the ones who is gonna be the one to take care of me when I’m older so I’m making sure I’m doing my best that way they don’t send me to a nursing home…I am a divorce mother I have 3 girls by my ex husband and one girl on the way by my boyfriend.. I am 28 years old and very independent… I guess my boyfriend don’t like that to much either…just like he don’t like my youngest sleeping in the bed with me…idc…if she wants to sleep with her mama she is gonna sleep with her mama…I’m not making my 4 year old daughter sleep in a big ass room by herself in a new house…she will do just fine sleeping with me till she is ready to move to her own room in a couple months…my kids are everything to me…a relationship really isn’t…I’m better off doing shit by myself anyways…I’m blessed

  50. tina on December 27, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    I have to disagree. If your partner is the parent of your child, then yes, your spouse comes first. But to say that a new mate trumps your child? Absolutely not. Your child should not play second fiddle to your new love interest. They were there first, they are your flesh and blood. They should not be sacrificed for someone who may or may not be permanent, this is highly damaging and destructive to the child as well as the parent child relationship. I have lived long enough to see this fallacy play out in several families, kids suffer and carry this type of discard into adulthood.

  51. Heather on December 28, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    I agree with this article. I think when dating exclusively… (in a relationship, not just random dates,) people should put their kids second.

    People get offended because they automatically assume you’re going to take on the role of the aging, desperate clinger who’s going to let her boyfriend abuse her kids for the sake of having a guy around, or the tool whose going to stop contacting his kids because his new girlfriend said so.

    There’s actually a happy balance.

    You can stand up for your kids rights and make sure that your new partner is not abusing them or taking advantage of your ‘partner first’ policy, while allowing your partner to feel valued and important.

    I think the people who are so afraid of the aforementioned issues are the ones who take it to that ‘are you SERIOUS?!’ level.

    My ex had it really bad. He would not only put his son first in EVERYTHING but he would also ‘punish’ me if his son put on a tear show. I had to walk on eggshells everyday of our 5 year relationship. He was super sensitive about his son, so if I made a suggestion and his son made one afterwards he would dismiss mine as invalid or silly. His son was constantly competing with me though I was very welcoming and warm to him. But my ex took advantage of that and would try to discredit me for his sons sake. This was an extreme situation.

    I think putting your kids second mean making adult decisions together and enforcing them as a team without allowing your kids to pit you two against each other. Kids can sense a weak union and if they know they have their mom/dad eating out of their hands, they will abuse that, which causes many failed relationships.

    For those who think their kids can do no wrong. I’ve found that alot of this has to do with kids being insulting to their parents partner and their parent not standing up for their partner because ‘my kids come first’. There is no reason on earth that a person should allow their kids to dishonor their partner. NONE.

    A child cannot (and should not) fulfill the role of a partner. Your kids will grow up and fall in love, make families and move on (as they should). You will be the lone, miserable person who refused to solidify a healthy relationship when you had the chance.

    I also don’t believe it’s the time aspect of it (putting the kids first in time), I believe it’s the aspect of not respecting your quality time with your partner (if you made a dinner date then stick with it; your child should be raised to understand that your time is important as well and that you can manage your time without being irresponsible.. unless it’s an emergency).

    Also other aspects such as automatically siding with your child before getting the facts in a situation. There are moms and dads out there who just hit the roof when their kid ‘tattles’ on their partners and then when they get to the bottom of it, there was a misunderstanding or the kid exaggerated the bulk of it. These are things that are inexcusable, and this is what I think of when I hear of people who boast that their kids come first.

    • Anna on July 7, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      Well said, I agree with every word. I think your comment doesn’t only apply for single parents but any parent period. I’m married, my husband and I didn’t have kids prior to our marriage and we are about to start our own family. :)

  52. JustY on December 29, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    I agree with this article, and find some of these comments to be quite unrealistic. When you seriously are in it for the long haul and want a lifelong partner, you should make that person a priority. Your children will grow up eventually and form partnerships and start families of their own, and where will you be? Alone, because you chose to put you children above a potential loving relationship. Unless your intention is to grow old with your child.. In that case, you better make a great mother/father in law… Good luck with that :)

    • Emma on December 30, 2015 at 9:45 am

      ha- cruel, but true :)

  53. Sydney Cohen on December 31, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    I’m 17 years old and my parents have been divorced since I was 2. I live with my mom and get to see my dad every summer and ever other winter break. He remarried when I was 7 I believe and they just recently got divorced this past August. Within the first few weeks of his divorce he went on a date with a woman. He told me he went on one about a few days later when we talked. We usually talk atleast once a week. sometimes we don’t talk for a week or two but we don’t go that long without talking- that is until this year. Like I said he went on the date and told me but didn’t say much. Soon after he stopped calling me altogether. He wouldn’t talk to me unless I started the conversation. Now as a 17 year old girl with her father in a completely different state over a thousand miles away it sucked that he didn’t want to talk to me. Months later I found out he had a girlfriend. I was on Facebook which im never on but my notifications started pilling up so I decided to check them and that’s where I noticed that there was a girl kissing him on his profile picture so I decided to check it out and when I did I found out he was infact dating this woman. So that night I texted him and asked if he had a girlfriend. His response? “UMM yeah?” I tried to ask questions but he just shot me down and said he was at dinner with her and my little brother and sister. He finally called me, not on the day he said he would but still, and he started laughing when I brought it up he kept saying it was no big deal. She is 26 years old. 9 YEARS OLDER THAN ME!!! 9 FUCKING YEARS!!! He doesn’t seem to think that a 17 year age gap is a big deal when he has a daughter who is so close to that age. I kept asking him why he wouldn’t tell me of all people he was seeing someone. He never answered just kept changing the subject. He introduced her to my 7 year old sister and 3 year old brother early in the relationship but insisted that it wasn’t serious. I found this out last month. I”m here at his house for winter break for two weeks. I leave on Saturday. How many days he’s spent here spending time with me or his other kids may you ask? Not even a full day. The Saturday I arrived she was there along with his friends. That Sunday he spent the day with her. That Monday I had to watch my sister and brother while he and their mom were at work that night he didn’t come home till late. Same thing on Tuesday. On Wednesday he wasn’t at home at all he went to work and then spent the night at her house. Christmas Eve I had to babysit my siblings again and then we had to go to her family’s house for Christmas eve. Because on one of the days to spend time with your family my dad doesn’t think that spending time with her family is bad, I just met the damn woman I didn’t want to already meet her family and she also spent the night at our house. On Christmas Day he made us breakfast and then they left. I was told they were going to a dinner party at five and then he’d be back. HE NEVER CAME HOME NEVER TOLD ME JUST LEFT ME SITTING THERE ON CHRISTMAS DAY BY MYSELF BECUASE HE WAS WITH HIS FUCKING GIRLFRIEND!!! it wasn’t until that Saturday that he actually stayed at home we even went out to dinner but naturally she calls him and he leaves me all alone once again for over thirty minutes cause he couldn’t be bothered to say he’d call her back or that he was actually spending time with me. Then on Sunday he got the kids again so I was back to babysitting. So Monday I was babysitting but atleast he came home that night but Tuesday night he didn’t and he didn’t on Wednesday either. So right now im stuck babysitting for a week straight not only with my brother and sister but also with her child because me father seems to think that I have no problem fucking babysitting whoever. New Years Eve and im stuck doing nothing because he once again isn’t here. So tell me this you think a man should put a woman over his children because you believe you should be first? That is a load of bullshit I have never felt worse than I have these two weeks. Children should always be put first especially in the case of a girlfriend. Because you know what? He will always be my dad just like I will always be his daughter you can come and go but im here to stay so if you think you should be more important than a man or woman’s child then you have some major problems. If you don’t like it I frankly don’t give a flying fuck. Grow the fuck up you are not the most important thing in a man’s life!

    • Joyce on January 7, 2016 at 12:19 am

      I am so sorry that happened to you. What you dad did to you is plain crappy and there is no excuse for it. Putting a spouse (not girlfriend) first does not mean that you ignore your children. You should be a big part of his life and feel the love and stability of a father. I believe that when a spouse emotional needs is put before a child, it should be to build a strong family unit for the child. I’m sure that you can testify to the fact that when a marriage fails that the children suffer. With divorce, it gets trickier. I don’t know your faith and I will no way judge you, but I am a Christian and I believe that is the reason that God hates divorce. It breaks the strong family unit up and makes it harder on the children especially dealing with step parents. Any girlfriend or spouse that would allow a man to do his child like he did you is very selfish and self centered and is in no way mature enough to date or marry a man with children.

    • realitycheck on January 11, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      Grow up. Your dad seems extreme. He should not be breaking his promises to you. He should be more considerate of your time and feelings and he definitely needs to keep his relationship with you healthy, however…you sound jealous.

      He can be with his ‘EFFIN girlfriend’ because he is trying to move on… as adults do. One day when you have a mature, responsible relationship you will learn that to make it work, you have to consider your partner and they come first sometimes.

      Your dad should not be taking it to the extreme, but I have a funny feeling why he’s doing it. You seem very demanding of his time and presence. I can tell that I’m on the right page because that’s why he was laughing because he’s wondering how he got this far letting this little girl play 20 questions like she rules him.

      NEWSFLASH! Your dad DOES NOT have to report to you about who he dates. He DOES NOT have to stop dating someone because YOU don’t agree with the age gap. He certainly DOES NOT have to explain to you why he decided to keep his relationship secret from you! He has a life of his own and he is allowed to live it… without your permission.

      Because your dad was so extreme, I can imagine you feel used and discarded but it sounds like you were offended by his relationship before you even got there. It’s obvious in the tone of your comment that you are hurting, but reading between the lines, I can tell that you know that you hold some kind of ‘power’ over him. It’s like you felt entitled to knowing all of your fathers personal details and are livid because he won’t share them.

      It sucks that he ruined your 2 weeks but I can tell that you’ve probably ruined tons of relationships for him. Because you sound like the feisty, ‘mini-wife’ that so many girlfriends & new wives get pushed to bottom for.

      The good news is that if his new girlfriend is so selfish to take all of his time from you, they probably won’t last very long… so you’ll have what you want…daddy wrapped around your finger. But you need to work on respecting your father, his wishes, and his lifestyle. You are the child, not the mother or wife. He does not answer to you.

    • Lynne A. on February 15, 2016 at 2:04 pm

      Sydney, I’m so sorry that you went through that. I understand where you are coming from; somehow coming by this post and quickly relating it to your current experience and how it made you feel to read this. But in time you will realize that Emma’s post is not a product of your experience. It is a product of hers. Your anger and resentment are with your dad, I believe, right? Just because Emma, (a stanger to you, correct?), wrote a blog that struck a nerve with you doesn’t really condone your obscenities and animosity. It would be much more productive to discuss your feelings with your father. Communication is EVERYTHING. If people cannot communicate, rather communicate effectively, there is not much hope for healing your wounds and fixing your problems so they do not continue to occur. Maybe the anger you feel is stemming from more ill feelings between your relationship and past with your father. I’m sure you are going to read this and prepare to fly off with more swearing and backlash but in all fairness you opened the door to every posters opinion with your tirade.

  54. Nancy on December 31, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    Emma, thanks for giving me hope. My husband just told me his kids are more important than I. My heart is broken. I love him. I don’t know what to do. Please, helm me.

    • Emma on January 1, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      Sounds like you have to decide if this is a) something you want, b) something you think is healthy for anyone involved– including the kids. You have some tough choices to make. You will make the right ones.

      • Nancy on January 24, 2016 at 1:15 am

        Thanks Emma,
        We don’t live with his kids and for the second time he kindly said I am second. He said in tears I deserve someone who can make me his number one. He said he was not ready to leave me and neither do I. I do not think he can love me any stronger. I feel I cannot leave him…

    • Emma on January 6, 2016 at 12:18 pm
  55. Beth on January 4, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I disagree. A partner can look after themselves but a child can’t. When you’re young, you need somebody to put you first. Prioritising your partner over your child is selfish and will probably lead to mental health problems later on. While it’s true that you can’t give your child all the time in the world, you need to draw the line when you’re sacrificing their wellbeing to make your relationship work.

    • Diamond on July 7, 2016 at 10:49 pm

      Are you aware that putting your relationship first does not equal with not taking care of your kids?

  56. Joyce on January 6, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Reading this article reminds me of reading the Bible passage about marriage. The Bible says the husband and wife should put each other only second to God. The spouse comes before children so they can make a good foundation for the children. That does not mean that you do not love your children dearly. If the husband and wife’s needs are not being met, how can they together meet the needs of the children? If their relationship falls apart, it is going to have a negative effect on the children. I guess that is why the Bible says that God hates divorce because it’s harder for a divorce parent to put another spouse before his or her children and build a strong family unit. I am in no way putting people down who are divorced. I know it things happen some times and divorce can not be avoided for the sanity of the people involved. My own brother is divorced and I still talk to his ex the few times I run into her and I love his new wife like a sister. His ex has moved on (they had no children) and his new wife one of the best things that ever happened to him.

  57. Rachel on January 8, 2016 at 10:01 pm

    My father was– as you put in a previous post– a “married single dad”. He became a single dad for real when I was 15 and my mother died. So while I was just a couple years away from living on my own (it was the early 2000s and it was still possible!) it honestly took him a few years before he was ready to start dating again. While I wouldn’t say that he made me his whole world as a result of single parenthood, he really wanted to wait until I moved out and started having my own life before he could focus on finding a partner again. I found that he did spend more time with me after her death though. Whether it was out of frailty of human life or the whole living for your kids thing, I don’t know. As of this fall, he’ll have been with my amazing stepmom for 10 years. I’ll be frank: they both had major shitheads for first spouses and became widowed around the same age bracket, and deserve all the happiness they have. My dad didn’t find real true happiness with a partner til 56. So, any older readers…don’t give up hope!

    Granted, what I had wasn’t a 1:1 comparison to what I skimmed through here since my parents weren’t divorced and I was not super young. But I think there just needs to be a healthy balance. Just because you’re prioritizing your relationship doesn’t mean you’re abandoning your kids or refusing to go to EVERY hockey game or whatever. My dad did stuff with me and my sister but he also had friends he went fishing with, work friends he hung out with and civics stuff he did; all of which I found boring. He was totally fine with me having my own friends and hobbies. It still didn’t stop us from taking road trips together or showing me all the places he used to play at in the Village.

    A common point I saw come up here and there in this thread was “your child is forever, your partner may not be”. Well…I don’t know about that. Because honestly, if my abusive mother was still alive I would’ve cut her out of my life. When I was having my photo session for my site done, I had a nice chat with the photographer when we were going through the prints. It was an enlightening but sad conversation about how despite giving her a nice upbringing, she’d become a drug addict who fell in with a bad crowd and hadn’t spoken to him in over a decade. The last time she did, it was because she wanted money. His son did alright for himself but for some reason just wanted nothing to do with him, lives on the other side of the world with his wife who he never met.

    Life’s a crapshoot. A partner may not be permanent, but a parent-child relationship might not better. All you can do is not smother either person, ignore the haters, and just give it your best shot.

    • Rachel on January 8, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      (derp I meant “might not be either”. And it was the photographer’s daughter who had a drug problem, not him.)

  58. Sarah on January 9, 2016 at 12:39 am

    I am torn. While I am nowhere near ready for a new relationship, I fear that I will NEVER find a partner who will love my child as much as I know she deserves or as much as me or her father…
    Growing up, I lived with my father, my stepmother, and their TRIPLET babies. Talk about being at the bottom of the priority list. These two beings have shown me the true meaning of selfishness and were never nice or subtle about letting me know how much of a burden I was to their lives. But, apparently the only sense they could make of my hurt feelings and their daily frustrations was that I was “just jealous”…really?
    SO, my experience of having a stepmother AND a father who didn’t accept me as part of their family makes me extra fearful for my daughter and who I choose to enter our lives. the thought of watching her grow up while my being alone is becoming more and more acceptable over falling in love with someone who will only “love” her out of obligation for me. Not worth it.
    Like here’s my thing-I expect a man to participate in my daughter’s life and value her as she was his own. I want her and I to have the same amount of love in our lives and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Hate to be pessimistic, but I just don’t think he exists. It’ll take a heart of gold to convince me otherwise.

    • realitycheck on January 11, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      It sounds like you need to get (or return to) therapy to take care of the childhood issue that causes your fears. Getting to the root can help you find some balance. You need to make sure you’re not being overly sensitive to normal events since you’ve lived through abuse/neglect and want to be certain your child doesn’t go through with it.

      The things you expect that you mention here are normal (him participating and valuing your daughter like she’s his). Both you and your daughter deserve that.

      But men (and women) must actually get to this point. They don’t just meet your child and fall in love… and sometimes if they do, they might fall out of love when everyone’s real personalities emerge. They have to work toward this.

      In order for you to get to that point you have to show this person that they matter in your life. This is where this article comes in… value your partner. If you go into it looking for a father for your child and seeing everything as a threat to her, then he will feel this resistance and you will not get what you are looking for.

      Does this mean you have to cancel mommy/daughter dates, break promises, or tolerate abuse toward your daughter? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But it does mean that you have to treat him like you value and respect him and he matters to you. You have to set boundaries for both him and her and make sure that you don’t break your promises to either unless it’s an emergency. And you must practice fairness with them BOTH. If your partner is the right one and he feels genuine love from you (and you make an effort to be sure she is showing him and your union respect), then the love for her will come naturally.

      He won’t love her out of obligation, he’ll love her because there’s a real bond and a relationship that stood a chance because it was built with a strong foundation. He’ll love her like she is his because she IS his. It’s not forced and it’s not a chore, it’s the same as the friendships we build. There will be love there.

      Don’t expect it to be there from the start… because if it is then you should probably be questioning… WHY???

  59. Sarah on January 9, 2016 at 1:32 am

    I also find it interesting that the author only comments to people who agree with her, however dead silent to those who with personal stories of proof that putting your partner first isn’t always best. What is your response to those who have been physically and emotionally abused because two people chose to put their toxic relationship before the children who clearly needed speech therapy, or counseling, or be shown just the slightest bit of love? It’s not the article that I find offensive, but I think I find the author to be, for writing something so insensitive and thoughtless. So, you took a biblical concept and called it your own?

    • Jess on January 10, 2016 at 2:47 am

      If the adults in a relationship can’t stand as one undivided front.. Then the children will run or ruin the relationship.. Your mate is the one to help make the home a happy place firm your family, how happy is it off they feel your loneliness? They see and hear everything! Making a place in your life for another adult.. That shouldn’t be a concern of the child and it shouldn’t be a problem.. That’s why children don’t make the decisions.. The adults do.. And they aren’t always the right ones.. Some parents aren’t grown up enough to know that a child if just a child.. Not the judge and jury of a relationship..! A child needs guidance and structure.. Not a parent who can’t make a choice about dating one person

      • Emma on January 10, 2016 at 8:56 am

        Well said … thank you!

      • Lea on January 15, 2016 at 5:05 pm

        I agree. Totally.

    • Tania on February 7, 2016 at 7:25 am

      your implying that the author is suggesting you ignore the child’s needs, i think the message is that your children will grow up and have their own lives therefore you cant put what would at that that later time be your main relationship, of course it is a priority to make sure your children are happy, healthy and safe, but that shouldn’t mean that your partner just gets forgotten about and taken advantage of in the process, most stepparents are willing to make sacrifices and take on joint responsibility for a child who isn’t their blood, we’re expected to provide, feed, clothe, take care of, love as if they’re our own yet the minute we say something negative like “I’m not happy that you let her stay up til 9” we get the “shes my daughter and I know whats best” line

      • Micha on July 14, 2016 at 12:52 pm

        My daughter doesn’t like my partners personality. We have been together 2 years. He bought a place for all of us to live, where she can have her own bathroom. She is 16. He has bent over backwards for her and she is so disrespectful. She acts like he is invisible. But has no problem taking gifts, or if she needs money, or part lift. We even got her two kittens. She told me she didn’t want to live with me of he was here. I asked why and her response was he is annoying. I told him how she felt and now he is moving out and renting a room, because he said do your kids come first, and he had tears in his eyes. He says he is willing to live apart for two years, until she goes to college. He won’t come around when she is here. My 4 year old loves him and is going to be heartbroken.I did not raise her to be this way. When I told her he was moving out, she said good, but now she guesses I want her to feel guilty. She should feel guilty. I have known this man 30 years and he has such a big heart.

        • Emma on July 15, 2016 at 9:13 am

          Sounds like you need to put your foot down and prohibit this kind of behavior. She is running your house because she knows she can get away with it. Time for you, mom, to step up and stop letting her run roughshod over the house, and for your boyfriend to assess your priorities and loyalties.

    • Lynne A. on February 15, 2016 at 2:25 pm

      I just don’t understand why you are angry that you didn’t get a comment from the author? This isn’t a counseling/therapy site, it is simply an article she wrote. If you are looking for sometime to argue with because they didn’t contact YOU and ask you if this article would be fair to YOU and YOUR life experiences, your clearly at the wrong place.

      Sorry to seem so rude but my goodness, some people just expect something for nothing. She doesn’t owe you anything, your father and stepmother do. If you have tried working out these issues with them, great, and I’m sorry that it clearly didn’t work. Many people have had terrible life experiences and obviously will deal with them in whatever manner they choose. Some people just need to learn how to cope and work on their problems in appropriate manners, rather than being miserable and shitty towards innocent bystanders.

    • tishagirl on February 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      UGH!!!! Because you are missing the point, that’s why the authors not responding to you people! It’s a waste of her time and the rest of us that Truly gets it.

  60. mamacita on January 15, 2016 at 1:35 am

    I’m not a single mom anymore but I totally agree with you on this! When I was single I lived by this because I wanted to get married so badly. I knew things would get better after I was married and 4 years later they did!

  61. Lea on January 15, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    I need some immediate advice. I adore the man I’m with and he loves me so very much. He is a single dad and has total custody of his two children with whom I adore. However, his daughter is focus and he does not discipline her and gives in to her on everything. She is so sweet but there are times I say something to him and he acts like I don’t like her. I love her and that’s why I try to make him stand his ground. I’m scared if one day she decides she doesn’t like me, I’ll be sent to the curb. He feels guilt with her mom abandoning the kids so I understand. But kids need boundaries and I don’t know how to approach this or leave. My kids are disciplined and I don’t want them thinking they can get away with things as well. Help. I don’t want this to ruin our relationship. He is so good to me and we have a wonderful relationship but I don’t know if I can deal with an unruly child that has no boundaries.

    • Tania on February 7, 2016 at 7:14 am

      I had the same issue in the beginning, bedtime was when she wanted and where she wanted, please and thank you was never enforced, “I want” was ok, interrupting when adults were talking and constantly protesting things she was asked to do, fortunately, through a lot of patience on my part this has improved a lot and she is now a relatively well behaved polite little girl , but now other stuff has started to pop up, we’ve talked about living together and even though he drives he doesn’t want to be more than half an hours drive from her even though this will mean me spending an hour traveling to work every day and its been made clear that even when shes a teenager every decision we make she will still be the main reason for doing or not doing certain things, I imagine even when shes at uni or getting married hed happily put us into debt for her!

  62. Vier on January 16, 2016 at 1:10 am

    I’m dating a single father. We live together and his kids stay with us every other wknd. When we first got together I flat out refused to meet his kids (both under 10 yrs old) until I knew we were serious. He wanted me to meet them right away but I didn’t think they needed to meet me immediately in the event that we did not work out, so they wouldn’t see fleeting relationships with women in his life. When we were finally introduced I insisted we take it slow, he doesn’t get a ton of time w/them and I didn’t want to detract from it as he was spending all the rest of his time w/me anyhow. When eventually we moved in together, I’d make myself scarce on his weekends to ensure they got alone time with him. Eventually, they began asking me to stay around, asking me to go with them on all of their outings and including me in everything. We all get along and have fun together. I made a strong effort to show that there was no competition for their father’s attention and it resulted in a very happy environment. In fact, I researched quite a bit about step parenting prior to our decision to cohabitate and everything I read said: you need to accept that you can’t rush a bond between yourself and your step children, it will take a lot of time and probably akward, uncomfortable situations… Fortunately for me, that was not at all the case. His kids accepted me, and I accepted them and we became close in a relatively short time.
    He’s not one of those: “my kids come above all else” types of men, and our loving relationship toward each other makes us happier people and therefore better more effective co-parents. I support and agree with Emma and commend her honesty and bravery to assert her point of view despite it going against what has been societally accepted and expected for so long. Parents are people, the ones with lives and interests other than their kids are happier, better, more satisfied and well rounded people and role models.

    • Diamond on July 7, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      Well said!

  63. NIc on January 22, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    Thank you Heather! It seems as though we are separated at birth. Also vier we started out like your situation until my baby was 4 months old and I found out all the secrets he was keeping.

    I will make this as quick as I can.

    My sons father lives over seas and came here to visit out 18 month old baby in early November 2015 for 10 weeks, we were meant to be working on ‘fixing things.’ I asked him to stay with his brother who lives 2 hours away and see our son weekends or take him for a while I HAD EVERY EXCUSE. Needless to say I was forced to let him stay mostly for my sons sake.

    He promised he would treat us better. His ex wife and daughters rule us every time we visit him. SO… I took care of him (he was on sick leave for a minor op) I worked and studied he was great with our son but was very secretive in his phone calls to his ex wife and kids (as always). He did his usual silent treatment game to me and I eventually threw him out after 3 weeks couldn’t take the mental abuse anymore (he’s done a lot worse to me I am on anxiety pills) his passport and personal belongings were already missing from my drawer he was planning to exit its a form of punishment.

    Anyway a week later he told me he was getting the 9pm flight and he hung up and I did not hear from him until days before christmas there was no explanation just a small gift in the post and no mention of seeing his son. I cried and begged. He said he could see him for ONE day I SAID NO forget it. ONE DAY. He sees him 1-2 times per year 6 weeks usually.ONE DAY?

    Anyway, HE LEFT the country without telling me when he was actually leaving (its all a big secret) then…when he arrived back to his Island, he has his precious princesses for as long as the ex wife (wife ) needs, as usual. LIKE HE SAYS OFTEN IT ISNT FAIR ON HER SHE NEEDS A BREAK when he’s visted me….what about me? HE DID NOT EVEN SAY GOODBYE TO OUR BABY SON! He has shared custody of his daughters they live BLOCKS AWAY shared custody but goes an extra mile if the evil trouble making hag wants to get drunk and sleep with married men. They now live a 2 min drive 10 min walk but dislike each other ????did I mention he was sleeping with her most nights 9 months into the relationship? and apparently I AM CRUEL WICKED CHILDISH STEP MOTHER who doesn’t understand his kids come first DAUGHTERS AND EX WIFE he means. I am a vindictive jealous insecure childish paranoid woman when theres nothing going on with them anymore…..????? BUT NOW everything they NEED to communicate about IS FOR THE KIDS lol yes that old chestnut for the kids…who are allowed to be disrespectful to me because daddy is guilty and mummy brainwashes them with poison.

    so to the people against new partners and jilted brides now forced to be completely single mum (not the cosy part-time parent getting all the help like the ex wife) WHERE THE HELL DOES THAT LEAVE MY SON AND I? MY SON DOESNT HAVE A FATHER ANYMORE….

    oooops I forgot as somebody kindly put before THEY WERE THERE FIRST ….so what MY SON doesn’t matter because THEY WERE THERE FIRST? REALLY?

  64. NIc on January 22, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    Oh and one more thing….Imagine flying 2 flights with a 4 month baby from london to St Thomas ALONE! And arriving very jet lagged new mum new baby to adapt to timezones climate LOADS OF LUGGAGE and then grocery shopping boxes of it. I already had pelvic inflammatory so my bones were aching!

    Then…the day I arrive, a demanding ex wife who TELLS dad he needs to come and get his kids because she has to go out! HE IMMEDIATELY DOES AS HES TOLD! Even though I asked weeks in advance to give me at least a week to settle in before the kids come to see mum and baby. Which we agreed and apparently he let her know and she was fine with it. So she knew. When I arrived I had 2 under 10’s in a 1 bed small apartment jumping all over me and my very tired little baby boy as dad looked on.

    They sulked, because they felt sad???? and also told me THAT DADDY belongs to them because they were here first they are his REAL children. I tried to talk to them but it was hopeless DADDY let them say and do what they want AND also wiped every tear…I told him he needs to address it with their mum I don’t want them feeling left out dad assured me I have it wrong they are so happy they have a brother LIKE REALLY HAPPY! Their mum was also poisoning them. ‘mummy told us u wanted us to be a boy, are u happy you have a son daddy?’ THIS WAS ALL IN ONE DAY! I wanted to scream! And that night the ex wife accidentally on purpose ran into us I was holding my son SHES NEVER SPOKEN TO ME EVER and held my sons hand and spoke to him but ignored me! My sons father watched and then OF COURSE they needed ANOTHER brief discussion about ‘the kids’ EVEN THOUGH she had been calling and calling his phone for us to drop everything to go and get them. She left them on his doorstep in the dark and the rain. But the woman in a rush now has time to stop and chat. MY SONS FATHER SAID she was just being nice ……

    But hey, I am the needy, cruel, selfish, paranoid, ‘bipolar’ step mum who nags over nothing!

    I wish they would go back to each other.

  65. Vicky on January 31, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    40 year-old woman here. Every single mom I know is either dating or looking for a childless man. At my age, I know quite a few. They refuse to get involved with single dads. They’re also unwilling to have children with these childless men. These guys are not and will never be a priority for them, yet they are expected to help support and raise children that are not theirs. I never understood why a childless person with zero baggage would get involved with a single parent.

  66. Mark on February 1, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    It is terrifying to me how selfish the author of this article is.

    • Lynne A. on February 15, 2016 at 1:50 pm

      I’m sorry to bother, but my curiosity is striking me today, could you explain?

  67. ACS on February 2, 2016 at 8:21 am

    I think you make a great point, and don’t understand all the hate you’re getting. It’s about boundaries, and being able to set proper ones with your kids.

    I dated a single mom who had adult children (in their 20’s), and they were still very much “on the teat”. She’d even stop in the middle of ‘adult time’ to answer the phone if they called. No borders whatsoever.

    I’m a single dad with 100% custody of my kids. I love them to death and would do anything for them. That being said, there’s also boundaries in place. Grown-up stuff is grown-up stuff, kid stuff is kid stuff. Not to the extreme of where “kids should be seen and not heard”, but for crying out loud, let’s draw some lines in the sand!

    • Emma on February 2, 2016 at 8:22 am

      Very eloquently said.

  68. mellissa on February 3, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    I completely agree with this. My marriage to their father failed because after we had kids, we lost ourselves in the process. I was only known as Mom and he was Dad. In my second marriage, we do everything we can to make sure there is time for US, as Mellissa and Ray which doesn’t include the kids.

    • Emma on February 4, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      So common, thanks for chiming in.

  69. John on February 5, 2016 at 2:40 am

    Sorry Emma. My ex-wife was a very selfish person who put our kids last. At the end of our marriage I was doing all the child care, housecleaning, shopping, errands, cooking, laundry, etc., all while working full time. And she sat around complaining, spending money, and doing whatever she wanted whenever she wanted to. I would never file for divorce because I think marriage is a sacred covenant, but I was sure glad when she did. I bought her out of the house and never looked back. My kids and I are doing great, much better with her. She wonders why they never want to see her. She still doesn’t get it. My kids come first because they’re the best people I’ve ever met. They’re kind, considerate, smart, loving, supportive, and fun to be with. Everything my ex wasn’t. I always told myself I’ll start dating again when the kids are out of the house. Well, my last is graduating HS soon and I still don’t think I’ll be dating. Women just annoy me. When you pay attention to one, it’s like a drug. They can’t get enough, and they suck the life out of you. I’m going to enjoy being single and have fun with my grandkids when they come along. Women have nothing to add to my life – nothing at all.

    • Jennifer on February 8, 2016 at 10:29 pm

      That is very sad. You are lonely, and stopped living your life. ” Grandkids”. Seriously? you should just start etching your tombstone now .

  70. John on February 5, 2016 at 2:42 am

    Sorry – need to edit a sentence above to say “My kids and I are doing great, much better THAN with her.”

  71. Tania on February 7, 2016 at 7:02 am

    Great article Emma, I wish my boyfriend would read it, I appreciate he “only” sees hes child ALL weekend Every weekend and he wants to totally devote that time to her yet we have four evenings alone and he sits on FB or watches tv, my annoyance is how much he takes me for granted, we recency argued because I said one day when the circumstances are right id like us to take a month or two out to do some traveling, his response was that that was “silly and you can’t drop everything to go gallivanting” I accept his responsibilities and have supported that but is it so awful that once his daughter is grown up for it to then me my turn to be a priority?

    • Emma on February 8, 2016 at 1:01 pm

      Tania – sounds hurtful, but also maybe time for you to accept where his priorities lie. It doesn’t sound like with you, I’m afraid.

      • macbeth on October 9, 2016 at 10:31 pm

        thanx Emma for this great lecture. I am in this situation but did not have the knowledge how to tackle the problem but thank God i got you. My fiance has a 4 year old daughter and she works six days a week and we rarely find time for each other. she is attached to the kid and i also love the kid. She tries by all means to give excuses whenever we discuss the issue of going out or spending time together. I did not have any clue as to what could be going on. Im glad i now know how to tackle this great problem. I am into her 100% unconditionally

  72. Jennifer on February 8, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    This is truly amazing. I just dated a divorced man for the first time and left him after 7 mths. He was divorced for six years and initially never wanted a divorce. I never expected to compete with the bond he had with his sons . However, he repeatedly stated from the very first date that his kids “came first”. Eventually with a clear mind and head I started to feel “second.” This became apparent when he didn’t stick to seeing me every other wknd and took one wknd to be with his friends. That was all I could take. It became obvious to me that he was a helicopter parent with a guilt ridden approach and a fear of losing them . His putting me second was also selfish. This article validated what I felt all along . I now realize that what I expect from a relationship with a man divorced or not is perfectly normal. Thank you!!!

    • CC on June 5, 2016 at 4:08 am

      This is me exactly as well, I’m on a year and keep trying to do everything in my power to try and get my boyfriend to want to bring me into his life more so I could be a REAL part of it and feel like we had a real partnership. I’m realizing it’s just not changing, I’ve only met his kids like 3 times… every event, bday, holiday is spent with the kids and his ex-wife. I’m awfully sad about realizing he’s one of those dads, I thought it was me this whole time not being a good enough partner. I never once complained about his time away but now I just feel unfulfilled and alone most of the time. What kind of relationship is that? Works great for him, for me… not so much. I have no kids, but want nothing more than to get to know his kids and create a loving space for them and my boyfriend. But I am not included at all. Sad because I do think he really loves me. He’s going to lose me over it.

  73. Tanya on February 12, 2016 at 6:41 am

    I was with a man whose boys would always come between us. They refused to accept me, treated me as if I was the antichrist. Now before you all get up in arms with me about what part I played in this… My boyfriend didn’t have full custody, so his time with his boys was his time with his boys and I was not involved in that time. We were together for a long time, when it came time for them to begin college – I believed that it was finally my time to become if not first, then at least a high priority. When that didn’t happen, the relationship ended. I truly felt that it was ok for me to take the back seat to his children, when they were children. But now… If ever I am with a man who has children and their attitude towards me is that toxic and he doesn’t nip that in the bud – I’m out. I will never put myself through the pain and agony of loving a man who won’t fight for me, because I am worth it.

    • Jennifer on February 17, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      Thank you for sharing that! You are worth it!

  74. Vc390 on February 14, 2016 at 11:27 am

    I’m so glad that I came across this post because I have been dating this guy for about three months now and he’s very present in his 3-year-old daughters life, he sees her maybe almost every other day she spends the night at his house and I love to see a father who takes care of his child, from a separate home :)..
    BUT today is Valentine’s Day and he called me this morning and said happy Valentine’s Day but then said he was about to go spend some time with his daughter and give her her gifts. So in my mind when we made plans he never said anything about seeing his 3 year old daughter and spending most of Valentine’s Day w her. Also a holiday he don’t even “really” celebrate.. So now today he’s expressed that we’re going to hang out in the evening maybe around six or 7 o’clock. (He didn’t really put a time on it) so I’m just like out of all days this is the one day that he could have sacrificed for it to just be about me him, so in my mind I don’t feel as though he’s only going to see just his daughter like he claims.. Like she’s 3 year old… Valentine’s Day.. She doesn’t even know what Valentine’s Day is.. Come on this just doesn’t sit right w me.. And he may be telling the truth, and I am not an insecure girl by no stretch at all. But I hate feeling like I’m being lied to..

    • Emma on February 15, 2016 at 9:28 am

      Sounds like he isn’t ready to really commit to you. You deserve better. xo

    • Jennifer on February 17, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Always stay away from men who don’t respect Valentines Day. They are the most selfish. Dump him ASAP.

      • Emma on February 18, 2016 at 4:39 pm

        Pretty harsh, I don’t agree!

        • Jennifer on February 20, 2016 at 11:38 am

          The only men I”ve met who knock Valentines Day have been selfish, perpetually single men. Valentines Day takes 60 seconds to celebrate. A box of chocolate’s , a card. Less than $20. Something small to show you care. Not a lot of effort. Jaded people think otherwise & complain about it. Small actions or inactions like this can sometimes show a mans character. Actions speak louder than words.You can disagree but, that is my opinion & I’m sticking to it.

          • realitycheck on March 8, 2016 at 4:16 pm

            I totally agree with you Jennifer. Great points.

    • Dan on March 8, 2016 at 11:52 am

      Find a man who has no children.Trust me you will be better off.I,m a 51 yr old man who has never been married until I was 48.I married a woman with 2 grown children and if I had to do it all over again I would never go with a woman who has kids,but In my age group a woman who has no kids is like hitting the lotto.If you are a young woman ,go out and find a man who has no kids and start your own family if you want.Trust me there are plent of young men that would love to have a childless woman.

  75. Lynne A. on February 15, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    I would be lying if I said that I am surprised about all the negativity this article is receiving. Someone could post an article stating, “The sky is blue”, and you would have people who agree, people who disagree, and people who just comment irrelevant words to it. ( For that reason I usually refrain from commenting because any input of an opinion turns into a debate. ) However, thank you, Emma, for this article; I agree with you. As I notice that the disagreements are from both men and women, it seems the majority are the males though. I won’t separate my views though on how I feel, I’m just going to generalize my thoughts. Why are people making it sound as if you wrote about a scenario where a single mom is standing on a cliff with her child hanging off the edge of one side and her new significant other, ( not the childs father ), hanging off the other side and the mother is making the decision to release her childs hand to give all her strength to saving the partner? While I understand to a certain extent that one may argue that placing a lover first before your child could end up being a serious, traumatic event someday, its not that serious and terrible! She is simply saying, if a single mother spends their life and time taking care of their children, who is taking care of her? A child cannot be responsible to hold the burden of taking care of the parent, and if she is single obviously a spouse is not there to take care of her: so who holds that task? To clarify, though, us females, ( and males alike ), need to take care of ourselves and our own needs. To live a healthy life, you cannot happily, or healthily, give your all to taking care of your kids and fail to take care of yourself. If you are not taking care of your own needs, (which you are responsible for, not your child or lover), you are going to end up emotionally exhausted and mentally unhealthy. I am a firm believer that woman are strong, as are men, and can endure a lot of stress and hard times to take care of the needs of the needs of their children. But at some point to maintain that strength and balance, people need to feed their own needs. Life is too short to attempt to fulfill the needs of others while putting your own needs off, waiting for “your time” to live fulfilled to come, after attempting to fulfill everyone else. Having stated that, ( and please be aware that many different factors come into the next point, i.e. age of children, etc ) every person, at every age has to learn to be self sufficient. ( NOTE- a 1 year old cannot be expected to feed their own hunger ). But a 1 year old who may fuss while laying down for bedtime doesn’t need to be picked up and held at the first moment they cry during being laid down for sleep; or a 2 year old doesn’t need CONSTANT play time and interaction from parents while playing, it is healthy to let them playing with their toys alone for a period of time. NOT meaning to get to far off topic with my examples and explanation, just trying to support my reasons. REASON BEING, I see in no way how it is so difficult to understand the point of the original post. Healthy, functional people can very easily handle providing a warm, loving relationship to their children, while also forming a healthy, loving bond with a prospective partner; much easier, let alone, a date or special, HUMAN, rendezvous a couple times, or once, -whatever works for THEM or whatever THEY prefer- a month. [ It is not a one size fits all thing, obviously no two people or situations are the same, there IS some wiggle room for differentiating circumstances ]. It doesn’t make you a bad parent, or person, for putting your child second to someone, or your own needs, sometimes.

    https://youtu.be/FQK9Ufr4yrY < Video explaining people needing their own time.
    http://themetzfamilyadventures.blogspot.com/2013/10/why-my-kids-are-not-center-of-my-world.html < Blog about not SPOILING your children to the point they turn out to be snarky little "entitled for being" feeling future adults. [Note- when I first read the this blog I had mixed feelings. After becoming a mother, to a toddler who is polite, happy, and full of love, and newly full of exploring his role and limits and beginning to figure out him self, I find it almost, spot on.

  76. Mom1278 on February 17, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Seriously, maybe that’s why you’re a single mom. Your kids, no matter what you believe and how your raise them, ARE NOT the center of the universe. I am a single mom, but for different reasons. My kid certainly does not come first for everything. I need to have my own life, too. I need to do adult things with other adults. It keeps me sane! If I want to date, that is up to me and not my child. My child is not going to be a reason to not date. I need my own life. My daughter is the most important person in my life, but I need boundaries. When my daughter is with her father, that is my time and I take full advantage of it. I believe parents deserve to have their own lives, their own things, their own identities outside of their children. My daughter is my world, but if I want to date, it’s about the man. I care about his needs and desires. If it is a serious relationship, his needs have to be satisfied. They can’t be ignored just because I have a child. Adults are on different wavelengths than their children. They have different needs, but both need love.
    I certainly am not selfish because my daughter dictates my entire life. I love to travel. I took a trip last year for two weeks, my child stayed with her father. I go out for “girls night” with my friends. I am planning on going back to school. My life didn’t stop just because I had a child. Being a mom is not a prison sentence. Those of you who say it’s selfish to not put your children first, are probably single for just that reason. You cannot block out other important people in your life just because you have children.

    I am newly single and am planning on starting to date soon. I have no qualms with leaving my daughter with a sitter once in awhile so I can go out with someone. There is nothing wrong with that! God knows, I give my child everything I can. I am a single mother and I struggle. But her needs get met, she has a loving home. But for God sake, I need a break sometimes. Dating as a single mom gives you a different perspective on life. It gives you someone else to take care of. Why is that a bad thing? Why do we have this negative view of mothers who do other things with their lives? It’s actually better for your kids to have a mom who has her own life. They are better adjusted, they are happier because mom is happier.

    If you’re in a relationship or casually dating, there is nothing wrong with making his life part of yours. Take interest in his interests. Compliment him. Make him feel good. While I have a child, that doesn’t meN I can’t date or have a boyfriend.

    • Emma on February 18, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      “Adults are on different wavelengths than their children. They have different needs, but both need love.” yes!!

    • Jennifer on February 21, 2016 at 10:45 am

      You sound like a very well balanced mentally healthy person. A rarity:)

    • Lynne A. on February 24, 2016 at 6:33 am

      was this directed at someone?

  77. tishagirl on February 20, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    HELP!! HELP!!!

    I been with my ( Single Father ) bf going on 6yrs. We’ve been living, or shall i say, shacking up together for since the beginning. That was number 1 mistake I now see. His son is 14 and has been living with us for 5yrs of our relationship, and it’s been nothing but Pure Hell!! His ex-wife passed away in 2011 and his son has been with us (HIM) every since. Not only am i having problems with his over protecting relationship with his son but also with the way it seems they team up on me when i speak up, i was also having problems with him Friending random attractive women on FB and leaving flirty comments, and tells me that i’m over reacting and being very immature! The FB issue i no longer care or worry about anymore because it goes through one ear out of the other when i tell him how much it hurts. But the issue with his son is something i can no longer except!! Like i mentioned in the beginning that he lost his ex-wife and he did go through some grieving times and so did his son. The more i tried to be understanding and sympathetic towards his son the more i got rejected, so now i just speak and keep a distance. I tried to explain to his son that i would never try to take his mothers place, but if he ever needed me or to talk, i’m here. His father also told me, right infront of his son that I could never take his mothers place.. (wow)! IDK, It’s such a long story and YES he even told me infront of his son once again that HIS SON COMES FIRST! He just told me the other day that i wasn’t running sh-t INFRONT OF HIS SON, once again in our house because i was getting on bf about still allowing his son to sleep on the livingroom sofa and junk up our living room that i try my best to keep clean! BTW, his son never cleans his room even when his dad tells him to. I try not to talk down on the kid because of what happened in his life, but yess he is very spoiled and disrespectful towards his dad and I. I had to Demand his father to make him speak when he enter that house instead of walking pass me like I don’t exist!!! Look, I’m 43 yrs old with no children of my own and I heard that your 40th years are suppose to be the best years of your life, and from reading all the post and my own story, I’m planning on enjoying my life without him (bf), cause from what i’ve read, it gets no better!! Pray for me!

  78. tishagirl on February 20, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    And oh, i forgot to mention about VALENTINES DAY! I told him in advance ( 2 mths ago ) that i needed some alone time with him on that, in which we never have!! Did i get that? NOOO! Instead, he picked up his grandson because his son wanted him over. And when I mentioned that was suppose to be our day alone, he went left and took his grandson home and acted as if I didn’t want his grandson there at all! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  79. Josh on February 23, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    I have a rather difficult situation and at times embarrassing(Like Right Now!) :-( Any HELP would be appreciated 1000% over…So i have been dating a woman that has 2 children for 7 years now and we are engaged also..she does not have custody of the children 100% , she can see them whenever she wants any what not …The problem i have and i think the next man would have as well is that she spends the night at her ex-husbands house to sometimes watch the kids! Or at least that what she tells me , i really have no idea what happens there but i do know that im really not OK with it at all…I don’t think its correct and i think she is definitely crossing a line that should never be crossed …we’ve had a rough relationship throughout the years…we’ve had our share of issues (alot of issues) mostly coming from her being unfaithful to me in the past and lies a lot and i mean a lot, like everything you could possibly think of she has told a lie…Its really hard to trust her on a daily basis…i find myself not wanting to ever leave her for the fear of being alone until i find another soul mate , IF i find another soul mate…and its f^%$ing hard for me to deal with the fact that she is at her ex husbands house at least once a week spending time with the kids, but like i said i don’t trust her 100% …nd i think if i was in that situation what would i do? And i come to the conclusion that i would chances are …probably have sexual relations with my ex if i were at her house in that situation…so why would she do anything different? now lately in the past idk 3 or 4 years she’s been by my side every step of the way nd shes has been faithful or at least i think? But the lies are still being told on a daily basis..i cant handle it anymore, im about to break , my heart is about to break ..ive done everything for my fiance and still do anything for her to this day…but the things she does hurts bad …real bad…someone if you could give a bit of advice…please im begging you…ui do not know if im right for thinking the way i do or wrong for thinking the way i do???? She over time has made me feel like im always wrong about everything! Please what should i do…im desperate!!!!!! And im not talking to her again until i get some feedback on my situation.. Any advice is welcome even the tell her to “kick rocks” advice as long as there’s a reasonable explanation! HELP>>>HELP :-(

  80. Amber on February 24, 2016 at 2:38 am

    Hello, I am reading this with fascination as a late thirties woman (no kids, but hopefully will try soon) in a one year relationship with a divorced dad.

    I don’t think anyone yet has shared the perspective I had growing up. My mom raised us basically single, for good reasons. She ‘put us first’ to the point of never dating or re-marrying, though she had plenty of offers, by good men to. As an adult now, I look back and wish she had, because I had no male role model at all.

    She didn’t do this for us. She got used to being alone and independent, and to this day, with all of us grown up, she is alone. Do you imagine how hard this is on the kids now? Since she doesn’t have someone to take care of her emotional or practical needs, guess who is on the hook? Guess who doesn’t feel now like she has time for OWN relationship? Guess who feels guilty for trying to build my own relationship with my man now and ‘abandoning’ her mother.

    It is really dangerous to ‘put the kids first’ because if it continues, they, who didn’t choose to be ‘put first’, may be expected to put the parent first later (never having agreed to that deal). And they will be resented for breaking out of this expectation.

    I feel sometimes that the only solution is to move to another city, but then I really WOULD be abandoning her and of course, my life, job and man are here. I love my mom, but it would be great if I could go a few days without visiting when things get really busy without a fight or guilt trip or being accused of leaving the family.

    Just wanted to point out the dangers of making the kids your world. They may resent it later if you expect them to reciprocate (remember, the kids didn’t choose that, you did).

    • Emma on February 24, 2016 at 6:06 am

      Amber – thanks for this. This is my experience, too, and I have written about it some. Thanks for sharing your story, very important.

    • Jennifer on February 26, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      That is incredibly insightful and well written. Maybe, you should start your own blog on the subject:)

  81. Katherine on February 26, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    Wow, you can see simply by the length of this comment string, and the strong emotions expressed, that this is really a heavy-weight topic that clearly has no ready “success manual.” I am the child of divorced parents who both remarried and had additional children. As an adult, single, childless woman who has (unsuccessfully) tried to date divorced dads, I have noticed some very important things about this topic:

    1) Divorced children will always be divorced children. It has been over thirty years since my parents’ divorce, and I still feel anger at having to split up my time between their two households and splitting myself up to maintain contact with them. They have not spoken in years, and with every holiday or special event, I get angst just thinking of who will get resentful because I “chose” one parent over the other. I firmly believe that the relationship between divorced parents is truly what makes the children of divorce “adjusted” or not. I have witnessed friends with divorced parents who have no trouble hanging out together and who encourage each other and have gotten over their animosity for the sake of the kids. These friends are far more successful, emotionally, in their lives than other friends who share a similar story to mine. If the children feel fulfilled and are not tugged from one side of the other, then each parent will also feel at ease and less anxious about dedicating all of their attention to them.

    2) Like is like. Period. The most successful marriages come from a set of partners that have the most things in common with them, including life story, goals, morals, etc., including whether they have been divorced, or have children, or not. A single person dating a divorced person with children faces an incredible uphill battle. Within my social circle, this seems to be a true recipe for disaster, for many reasons. The few success stories in this example usually involve couples who eventually go on to have their own children together, and create their own family unit. Eventually, this family unit by its own nature develops beyond the original children. The children of the divorce (and this comes from first-person experience), need to develop their own independence and learn to grow beyond the divorce / remarriage / re-shifting and become their own people. This is the eternal burden the children of divorce carry, and what all parents need to understand: eventually children will have their own lives and are responsible for their own emotions. YOU DO NOT GET TO BLAME YOUR PARENTS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

    Lastly, I leave you with something my dad told me after I tearfully had to break with the love-of-my-life, divorced dad of two kids, because I was emotionally wrecked after endless fights involving his inability to schedule his time. I consider my dad the voice of wisdom because he weathered it all. He told me that the worst mistake a divorced parent can make is to dedicate all their decision-making to their children first. “Children,” he said, “grow up and leave. The one who sticks by you in your adult years, day after day, taking care of you, putting up with you, is your spouse. They’re the ones who really matter, in the end. Think about it.”

    It is not fair for parents to end up alone because their children *could* grow up to harbor resentments towards them and society in general. Divorce sucks, period, but it should not EVER define you, parent or child.

    My final comment is that truly whether a person has children or not is rarely ever the reason why a relationship fails. In both my relationships involving men with children, the relationships ended because: a) he had deep anger and drug issues, b) he was emotionally unavailable and had an inability to keep commitments not only with myself, but with his friends and family. It is easy to blame the children, just as it is easy to hide behind them. A true adult with firm convictions, a moral code, organized, and dedicated to their family (a solid individual), will rarely give you reason to head for the hills.

  82. Raechel on February 28, 2016 at 4:33 am

    This is something I’ve been learning to cope with over the past 6 yrs. Providing my son with security and stability and protecting his heart after a couple failed relationships – my guilty conscious decided it was necessary to put his needs before mine, but unfortunately that wasn’t the answer either.

    We want nothing more then for our kids to be happy and healthy and know they are loved, but I am a firm believer that they will have all that (and more) when our cup is overflowing… not when we are sacrificing our happiness, our wants, and our desires for what we think is in their best interest.

  83. Elle on March 1, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    You might be a wealthy single mommy but you sound like an extremely anger and bitter one as well. I happen to know a single mommy who plowed her way out of her young children’s lives through several affairs and eventual divorce. Post-divorce, she put her kids second, as you suggest, and their school has had to get involved because that ‘second place’ treatment is not serving them so well in their young lives. She bought into this ‘it’a all about me’ self-obsessed newly single and free lifestyle and forgot she had kids, and when they plaintively reminded her, she took out her irritation on them. I also know a single mommy who recently shacked up with a single daddy and the looks on the kids faces are the most tragic part of it all. Single daddy and single mommy are playing the mega-watt smile Brady Bunch charade while the truth is to be found in the soul-less and sad looks in the kids eyes. Finally, I was on the child’s end myself of what it’s like to have a vapid shrew get irritated by another man’s children, adult ones, even existing. When a woman resents a man (or v.v.) putting their children first, they ought to move on. The kids were always there and will always be there. Deal with it like a graceful admirable mature woman or get your juvenile insecure mean girl ass out of there.

  84. Dan on March 8, 2016 at 11:59 am

    To all people who are childless.Date are marry people who donot have kids.And for you people that have kids that are single.Stay away from us child free people.and date people with kids.

  85. binkybopper on March 14, 2016 at 7:08 am

    Lol @ the ignorance of this XD
    I see my ex putting her kids 2nd and her lust 1st.
    From my observation my ex’s poor little ones get so neglected, everywhere from hygiene, to being fed, healthy play time, medical, and much much more. I’ve had to watch this happen for a year and a half’ish now. The children are 10 months and 4 years old. The 10 month year old is my daughter.
    I’ve watched time and time again her push her kids aside so she can do stuff with her bf, or play video games. It’s down right disgusting. So no she doesn’t need to be putting her bf and video games first before he kids. But hey its how her mother was while she was growing up, so its no wonder she doesn’t see the issues, she was raised to see no problem with such behavior.

  86. jenn on March 15, 2016 at 1:24 am

    im tired of single parents who try to ‘date’- they dont want a partner, what they want is someone
    to tell how much THAT person is going to be second to their kids, who they will spend ALL
    their time with and ignore the other person. It’s not normal to just want to hang out with
    your kids all the time. Normal people want a partner too. These idiot single parents
    are mostly stupid people who need to stick to their kids and get out of the dating world

    im not a mother, but if I was, you better damn well believe i’d be overwhelmed and lonely
    and want a man. I would’t be like..well my kids come first and ur nothing. Most guys do
    that to me. They don’t want a girlfriend or a date, they just want their kids

  87. jenn on March 15, 2016 at 1:30 am

    there are a lot of screwed up narcissistic idiots out there who use the ‘my kids come first’ excuse as a means to control their partner, and devalue them. Its not that their kids come first- its that they want to mistreat another person and use that as an excuse. Of course someones kids should come first, but if u were married to your wife or husband, wud u say that to them? these idiots are jerks usually. Really it should be an equality thing and everyone is important. guys or women who say “my kids come first” run from those losers

    • Jennifer on August 9, 2016 at 11:54 am

      Jen, your awesome. I never thought that maybe his saying initially and consistently ” my kids come first” was an excuse and reason to mistreat the other person. Very powerful insight. Nice to hear this from someone else who has had this shared experience.

  88. Diana on March 18, 2016 at 11:36 am

    Hoping to get some insight from reading these post as I’ve been dating a man for the past six months with two beautiful girls….one 24 and one 16 and am starting to see major ‘red flags’. I am certainly mature enough to realize that there are times when the girls are a priority and times when I will be….the challenge for me (us) is that he and he only determines who, when,why and where the prioritys fall.
    His relationship with his ex is so full of hate and anger and he is extremely bitter in regard to the divorce…most of his anger stems from the fact that he is retired military and lost half of his pension….more about lost $$$ than lost love. His own relationship with the girls has its major ups and downs and his tendency is to overcompensate when the times are good so that he can be ‘the cool parent…the fun parent’.
    Believe me when I say the girls are very aware of how to ‘push’ their Dad’s buttons and have no problem with using him to get what they want and once they have it…go on their way. On many occassions he has made plans with them only to have them cancel minutes before or just not show up.
    He has told me on more than one occassion that he’s in love with me and wants a future….he has also stated that until I can commit to a future…his children will always be his priority. Once I commit than I will then be his first priority and his children second. Why does there have to be a priority at all? It seems his love already has conditions and this is very worrisome.
    When plans are made….he consults and makes plans with the children and then lets me know that of course I’m invited as well. For instance….Easter weekend is coming up and I was just informed that one of the girls wants to go out boating on Good Friday and the other on Saturday…. I’m invited to join…never once asked what plans I may have in mind.
    Am I wrong to feel that perhaps I should have been included in some of this decision process or is this something I should just come to expect? Should I come to expect that his girls will always be first and foremost? It’s not like they are young children…the oldest one lives with her boyfriend and the youngest one barely spends time with him. Any advice would be very appreciated.

  89. Shaun on March 18, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Oh.. Ok. Just make space for them if you want to date. That putting your children first isn’t taking the relationship seriously. So… Shoving the children off on sitters is the better answer? That’s healthier for them? Dating normally means going out as a whole unit. THAT is why it doesn’t happen, unless you are selfish enough to just tell your children, “Well I’m going out again this week. The sitter will make you something later and tuck you in.” This is HORRIBLE advice and, actually, arrogant. Smug. And by the way, My children need me more than I need a relationship. Because they’ve already experienced abandonment. And will not experience it twice because I feel like dating. They are (And despite what this arrogant article says) and SHOULD be my number one priority and relationship. In a Disney universe, sure. The “Perfect partner” will come along that doesn’t mind time split with my children. But the reality is much different. I’m a single father of two children with full physical and legal custody. So this isn’t just a “Mom” thing, which I’m really tired of hearing about too. Single fathers go through the same things and are just kind of… Dismissed. Anyone that puts another person ahead of their children is too selfish to be called a parent to begin with.

  90. MandaPanda1979 on March 21, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    Sometimes we just need a little time
    Off from parenting…time to refresh and reboot ourselves. It’s nice to get away once In a great while. Nothing wrong with putting the kids in the back seat once and while. It’s not like we’re saying we don’t love our children but as adults we need time too. My fiancé and I have kids of our own and we make time usually when the kids are with their father. And it’s important to to be able to get that alone time because if we don’t take time out for one another the relationship can become stale.

  91. Msve on March 27, 2016 at 2:04 pm

    Run run run , of your dating a man who overcompensates for being a divorced dad, I’m married to a man now of 4 yrs that takes his kids needs and feelings above mine, his kids are 29 and 25, when I first met the daughter she said his money is my money and will always be my money, why didn’t I run that was my first time meeting her, and he said nothing, I waited till I got him alone and asked why she thought what he worked for was hers, he said she was just playing I told hI’m that was disrespectful and that I promised him it wouldn’t happen again because I would put her in her place, his son just as bad has the mental capacity of a 12 yo can’t do anything without calling his dad they talk on the phone at least 8 times per day and he sees nothing wrong, if I walk Into the room conversation changes, im so tired and done, I’m preparing to get out of this marriage asap, if u can’t be a united front with ur husband u shouldn’t be married, but understand why he never let me around his kids when we dated makes sense now he was hiding a lot of dysfunction and the financial dependence they have with them, I would tell any woman dont get involved with a man who don’t have a functional relationship with his family the red flags were there I ignored them and I Regret ever meeting him, but it’s not over till its over, I will be in a healthy relationship again….The blessing is take what u learn and apply it to your next relationship and put God first…….peace and blessings.

    • Msve on March 27, 2016 at 2:08 pm

      So many grammar errors sorry….

  92. Tobe, on March 29, 2016 at 7:07 am

    This is a sad example of today’s worldly values. Marriage is for life as God intended. Sadly people in this world are all about Yolo! 25 years later my husband left for a child. He’s 46 she’s 30. Fine be a poor excuse but even worse he left his kids. Sees them maybe 2x week. No time for weekend visitation. He told them about the mistress early on and constantly brings her up but never introduces her. He implies she’s more important than them. As their only responsible parent I will assure you that my sexuality will be put on hold so my kids feel secure that I value them more than some instant gratification. That they learn those values so they can honor their future spouse. Your opinion is yours lady but I personally don’t agree with you. Thanks for sharing what not to do. And don’t date a divorced guy with kids and expect you’re more important than his children. That is the selfish attitude that so many entitled spouses leave their families in the first place!

  93. Tyler Michael on April 11, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    There are many good points in this article. Yes, a relationship should be focused on the man and the woman, but at the same time each person needs to put their children first. If their children do not like the person their mother/father is going out with, then that opinion needs to come before the opinion of the parent. Otherwise the parent is being extremely selfish and only building resentment toward their parent. Also, if a parent ignores the child’s needs (using the example in this article) where the child had an altercation with the hockey coach, then the parent is subliminally telling the child that their life and needs come second. Finally I find this article fairly selfish, yes, a happy relationship between the adults is obviously a good thing and benefits everybody, but at the same time if that is all the parent is focused on, then their priorities should be reevaluated and their children are being neglected. As a child that is suffering from the divorce of my parents, and having one parent who is dating somebody none of us children like, putting the parents relationship first is the worst thing you can do.

  94. David Cuevas on April 22, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    I’m a single father, I have alternate weekend with my son and certain vacation time. I have joint legal custody, these are things that I fought to have the rights to see my child and have important bonding time with him for my and his development. So of the woman I date can’t accept the fact that one weekend is for me and my son and the other weekend is for her then she can kick bricks, BUT if she is willing to give time to get to know me and understand that one weekend is for her and the other is for my child then so be it. Women tend to want to rush things especially if they to have a child. I’m sorry I don’t want to meet your kid yet unless we are 6 months to a year into dating and I know we have an understanding on both parts. When it comes to a point of living together and my son comes over to visit that is when we can have an awesome family dynamic of half brothers/sisters and step mom or vice versa and my child feels as if they belong in the family and home.

  95. Johnny on April 24, 2016 at 3:13 am

    But to all those mums with spoilt brats who won’t go to bed until mummy does and insists on sleeping in her bed, at what point does the man say enough is enough, it’s a balance, of course you would expect a partners child to have priority but there also has to be respect for your own needs and the kids need to understand this,

  96. Annmarie on May 2, 2016 at 8:30 am

    The only person that should ever be first in someone’s life is if that person can supply all needs. Since we live in a world where people instinctively are selfish, including our children and/or spouses – the only real person, or entity, that can supply every need is God. So, I completely disagree with this article. I will never put a man before my children, nor my children before a man. I will put the Lord before everything and he will guide me through each situation on how to handle. Sometimes it is a lot deeper than setting a family example to children. Some children require a different kind of attention, and some spouses have different needs. We, ourselves, have different needs, wants AND problems – that unfortunately our children and spouses may have to deal with, as well. I agree with some of your responses Emma, I do think being healthy and making time for oneself is extremely important. I remind myself of this as a single mother. But, to say that having amazing sex is a good way to be happy, that is wrong, and that is a crude way to set a modernized example to women out there! Exercise, counseling, meeting with groups that help cope, reading, spending time with yourself (to figure out who you are and what you really want), and if you are religious, spending a lot of one on one time with God, is how you maintain a stress-free or manageable example for ones child. Make time for yourself and for your loved ones – yes, but don’t replace values for substance.

  97. Jimmy on May 12, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    My girlfriend has two girls and i adore them but i feel as though my girlfriend does not know how to balance the kids and relationship. Some examples and you can tell me if I am crazy or not. Ill be talking to her on the phone and having a conversation. All of a sudden her kid will come up to her and instead of telling me to hold on or tell her kid to hold on until we are done speaking she will just put the phone down without saying a word and i keep talking to no one. Another example. When we are together she will be talking to her daughter 99% of the time we are together She will completely ignore me and just talk to her and act like she hasn’t seen her in weeks. Meanwhile she hasn’t seen me in week and i can’t even have a normal conversation with her. I feel as though i am just hanging out with myself. She lets the kids walk all over her and gives them whatever they want. which is why most of the time they act horrible and continue to act horrible. You don’t get rewarded for being bad but apparently in that household you do. I have told her that there needs to be a balance and i need attention too. yet nothing has changed. Im not being needy. Its not like I want all the attention but maybe some. As of right now I get none and feel like the outcast. I get the table scraps of attention.

    • mera on June 28, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      I could not deal with that. Aside from teaching the children that it is okay to be rude, she is not being respectful. Move on, as it won’t get better.

  98. Justine Walker on May 17, 2016 at 2:15 am

    What is being missed is children need to be a part of all kinds of loving relationships. Having parents/step that truly love one another is the healthiest place a child can be raised in, the only way for true live to to be possible is to be 100% committed to each other. Putting your spouse first doesn’t mean you neglect your child in any way or love them any less. It means that above all else your life long partners needs are heard and validadated and sometimes it may mean that little johnny didn’t get to go where he wanted or do what he wanted…. So oh my! We have taught that, yes! Sometimes it is not all about little Johnny’s wants, that other people matter and are important and mommy or daddy can love more than little johnny and all of that is normal! Little johnny learns dissapointment and also how to handle the negative emotions that that causes. Marriage and relationships are supposed to be lifelong….. Our jobs and responsibilities as parents are to raise our children to be well adjusted loving adults, to move on to start their own family 18 – 22 years goes by and then your lifelong partner is left. If that relationship has not been cultivated and nurtured just as a child’s life, the bond will never be strong enough to survive. It is healthy for children to know that the bond and love between parents is bigger than than they are, I believe it creates a much stronger unity which in turn give greater strength to the children. Children and teenagers who are put before spouses catch on pretty quick, it teaches them manipulation and gives them a false sense of security that the rest of the world will introduce them to as young adults and they will have no clue how to process the rejection or sense of betrayal for not being number one. I am the mother of 3, now grown….. I would step in front of a train to protect any of them, love all of them with every ounce of my being, but in order to have the unconditional love with my partner there has to be 100% trust in every area of the relationship (no talking jealousy trust) trust that i!/he feelings, thoughts, wants, needs, You have each others backs at all times that will not be possible if you are in fight mode trying to justify why johnny not wanting to be left with a sitter so you missed his company award dinner. Love, nurture, teach and protect our children YES, make them the center of our world…. Dangerous…… For everything ifalse it teaches them they will not have from 99.9 % of the people they will encounter in their life except from their life partner.

  99. Catherine on June 6, 2016 at 12:35 am

    As the child of a divorced parents, I had a mother who put my brother and I first when it came to dating other people, and a father who put us second. And I have to tell you, realizing that my
    Dad cared more about his relationship with some woman than he did about my brother and I was a very painful experience for a ten year old. He went through several relationships with women who actively made us feel unwanted, and while his relationship with these women always came before his children, the relationship never lasted more than a few years. On the other hand, when our mother dated she made it clear that she was a single mother whose children were her priority- and now, ten years later, we have a wonderful stepdad and 4 year old baby half brother. When you decide to bring life into this world, I think it’s important to put those kids first at least until they’re 18 and are their own adults. Children are sensitive and they’ll know when they’re second place- and it’s downright cruel to allow that to happen to kids who are totally dependent on you the way your children are. Your significant other is their own autonomous person; your children are a piece of you that still needs the nurturing to go out into the world.

  100. Phillip on June 6, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    There is a very fine line here but you should never put your child second to anyone. This is your number one responsibility, PERIOD! Children grow up so fast and you only have one chance to raise them right. If you are a single parent with split custody, your child already lives out of a bag bouncing from house to house. They need all the positive influence their parents can give them and don’t need to feel like they come second to the newest partner in their parent life.
    I think there can be a healthy balance for alone time with your partner since your are single and most likely have your child all the time. The examples the author gave I think are extreme circumstances that doesn’t reflect the majority of us in this situation. You can still make your relationship a priority without putting your kids second,

  101. Jess on June 7, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Everyone’s priorities are different, that’s a fact; another fact? My children have always been mine,PERIOD! They are adults now but I raised them on my own. Dating was not a priority to me but being a good mother to my children. I lost my mother at a young age and know first hand the importance of a loving parent in someone’s life. In my mother’s passing, I also learned my children were/are my greatest gift from life and not men. I have an AMAZING relationship with my boys, we are inseparable; they have become great men to society. Now, I can focus on me :) I’m engaged to be married. There are loser men as parents as well as women! This goes to the article writer ;-)

  102. Blacknight on June 17, 2016 at 7:08 pm

    I bet all of you have kids that sit in your dates face when your date comes by. If I go to my dates house for movie night that is what I expect. If your trying to get tl know a person keep your kids out of it. I bet y’all are still single and going to be single because you want to be a MOM all the time instead of a girlfriend….. Stay single and date your kids!!!!!!

    • Diamond on July 7, 2016 at 10:33 pm
  103. Liz on June 23, 2016 at 11:06 am

    I experienced the opposite. My ex boyfriend had his 11 year old daughter during the week and his 19 year old son would come from college on the weekends (to see his girlfriend and bring her to his home all weekend). It seemed like I had to beg to be alone with him even when we lived together. His kids were rude and disrespectful and there was always an excuse to why they acted that way. I tried to put him first and create a good relationship, but it was overwhelming and intolerable. I eventually moved out after another disrespectful and rude act by both of his kids. I know he felt like he needed to support them due to his divorce from their mom, but I wasn’t in a win win relationship. I feel like some men don’t know how to acknowledge a GOOD woman when they have one.

  104. Jamie Rossa on June 27, 2016 at 11:51 pm

    I do not believe that children are more important than your chosen mate. If people would stop posting on facebook “my child has my whole heart” my child this blah blah and started posting stuff like that about their partner maybe there would not be so many broken homes. So those who do this realize, you have stated there is no room for your partner. Pretty black and white that is exactly what it says. Those of you that think you’re world is all about your children please stop dating and leave the innocent people who didn’t have children a chance to be the love of someone’s life. At the end of the day that is what everyone wants. To be the one true love. Right ? We are seeking it. Putting conditions and forcing others to bond with your children is selfish. The only person that is going to love that child as much as you is the other parent. So putting them first maybe you should work out your issues with them….don’t gripe you want them first you got it with the person you created them with. Shoyldnt matter how you’re treated these new partners are only second best so you should be ok with this in your youre loved and your children are put first the new partner gets what..someone elses kids..hurray? People who have children don’t see this because they are receiving their unconditional love from their children. How quickly people toss their chosen partner aside. We had kids now you’re dirt, wow where was the fine print on that? No one wants to live in the shadow of anyone, kids or adults. How can people expect others to invest their lives in them when at the end of the day the child will always be chosen over them. My value as a person does not decrease for anyone child or adult. Your partner may not think your child is great and doesn’t think it is wonderful that part of your ex comes over every other weekend and then reports your personal life back to the other parent. The ex is never ever gone. You can never move on because you share a child. BUT WAIT your partner should think those kids are the best thing in the world. O you know how great the reminder is that you loved someone else to marry them. The constant reminder that you were having sex with another woman or man and you still talk to them. Let us all line up for that. O please let us all be second best because you had children. ARE YOU CRAZY! This is so sad that people can’t see past their own butts.

    • Marie on July 5, 2016 at 11:43 am

      I don’t see why this is the fault of the partner who happens to be a parent. If you make a choice to date a divorced parent then you need to be mature enough to handle it. Divorced people with kids must co parent and get along with the ex in order for their children to thrive. Why would you ever expect to be the top priority?

      Once a person makes a choice to have kids, everything changes. They have offspring that shares their DNA with another person – they are family. Your significant other, if they are a decent human, should do everything in their power to see that their kids have a good, healthy childhood. New relationships need to fit into this picture, not the other way around. There is no room for an immature, self centered boyfriend or girlfriend in this equation, so please think before you date.

  105. mera on June 28, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    It is sad that many let the guilt and anger over divorce color their behavior towards their children. I have worked in various schools as a reading specialist, and I am at the age where my own kids are grown. I have seen many families both personally and professionally weather the divorce storm, and I survived it myself. The kids who thrived post-divorce had families that kept boundaries not dissimilar from the ones the kids grew up with prior to the divorce. The children were loved to bits, but were not permitted to become lords and ladies of the manor. If you had no trouble leaving a child with a trusted sitter to have dinner with your spouse, why should you have trouble doing the same with a new spouse or significant other. The kids may have fussed a bit at first, but then they got over the issue. The kids whose parents treated them like victims and ignored bad behavior, or were constantly trying to “make up” for things rarely had happy kids. People forget that the divorce in part often happened because something was wrong in the marriage that was not healthy for all involved, so it was better to part. Romantic adult love should be different and separate from parental love, so it seems each has their own space. If both spaces are respected, everyone can be fine. It worked for me.

  106. Marie on July 5, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Single parents have the right to date and pursue relationships as much as anyone else. However, should they prioritize their new partner before their children? Unfortunately I’d say the answer to that is no. Parents had a chance to do this with each other while they were married (barring other more critical circumstances). Once that opportunity has passed, then please understand that a parent’s priorities have changed. Remember that the children have no choice in divorce. Unless there was abuse involved, kids of divorce are simply experiencing the consequences of their parent decisions whether they like it or not. That means both parents now are faced with the task of keeping the negative impact of these decisions to a minimum, which is nearly impossible the children aren’t first priority. That doesn’t mean parents can’t date, it just means that dating and relationships need to be compartmentalized for a while, happening on mom or dad’s time, not the kids’ time. People try to justify seeing the new partner during family time by claiming children want to see their parents happy. Well, this isn’t true in the way posters here seem to think. Kids are self centered by nature and they want themselves to be happy. If mom and dad can help out with this by being happy themselves, great. However, if mom and dad feel happy with their new relationship but are otherwise adding drama or disrupting the stability, then your kids aren’t happier. Parents need to get over themselves and get along even after divorce. They need to co parent effectively to keep as much stability in their kids lives as possible. How can you do this if you’re in a committed relationship with someone, especially someone who doesn’t have children? Relationships take time and commitment, both of which will be frequently interrupted by family demands for a while, and family demands are non negotiable. Parents should focus on improving themselves rather than finding fulfillment through romantic relationships for a while. Go back to school, build a career, go to a therapist, get divorce counseling (yes, it is a real thing). That’s setting a great example for your kids. Once you’ve accomplished getting your kids through the stress, you (and they) will be ready for that new relationship.

    • Blanca on July 6, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      Marie, I agree with you 100%!!! Well said.

  107. Anna on July 7, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Great article, I think everyone should read it, single parent or not. The partner/spouse should come first, this is the key to a happy, healthy, strong, and balanced relationship/marriage.

    I’m a 25 y/o married woman. My husband and I are ready to start our own little family. :) I never dated or considered dating a man with kids as kids have always been a deal breaker for me. For multiple reasons: I want my own family instead of a ready-made one. I want to raise my own kids. I want to experience all the “firsts” with my husband: pregnancy, childbirth, parenthood. And last but not least: I don’t need baggage and drama. Oh, and I don’t find the fact that single dads have experience with kids “cute”.

    • Jennifer on August 9, 2016 at 2:01 pm


      Plenty of men & women wanted that and wound up divorced. I know plenty of single women who had all of these “firsts ” but ended up the “first” wife instead. I think this blog is more focused on people struggling with the reality of divorce and single parenting. I am also not divorced & without children. I have met many childless self centered men as well. However, whomever puts me second is updateable period!

  108. T.K on July 14, 2016 at 1:04 am

    I’m currently in a relationship where my partner puts his 19 y.o daughter first, even when she is throwing tantrums and being unreasonable. I have done nothing to her. She doesn’t approve of us so whenever she is in town, I am shunned. I have to get out of their way as his daughter doesn’t want to see me. We have a guest room in our house but my partner had to book her a separate apartment because she doesn’t want to be in the same house as me. So my partner goes out early in the day and back home late at night the entire time she is in town. I know he is meeting her, but it really does feel the same as if he is cheating on me or i’m sharing him with another woman. It hurts a lot and nobody deserves to experience this.

    My point is, referencing some of the comments above, a single person without kids is giving you 100% of her heart and devotion. She is loyal to you and she puts you as her priority. However, she cannot expect the same in return if she is dating someone with kids (i say kids because a mature adult child will understand and want the best for her dad and would want him to be happy).

    If you are a single person without kids, i would recommend that you find out if his kid is a reasonably sound minded person before getting involved. If he or she is, then everyone can get along and i’m sure there are success stories. However if his kid(s) are young/needy/unreasonable and he is enabling them, it probably is wise to just forget about it and find another fish in the sea.

  109. John on July 21, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    No, no, no, no and no. I am a single father and my kids will ALWAYS come first. If you can’t understand this, I don’t want a relationship with you. I’d rather be alone than be with a princess who thinks she’s the center of everything. You are an adult and my kids are children; they need me and you should be able to take care of yourself. Adios.

    • Emma on July 26, 2016 at 6:18 am

      And what happens when the kids grow up?

    • JP on August 2, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      The attitude of some of these sanctimonious mommies and daddies is disturbing. They love to pretend there’s only two options; either revolve your world around your kids (ie use them as an excuse to never make an effort for your partner, while at the same time, narcissistically expecting your partner to make an effort for you) or abandon kids alone at home while you get drunk in bars and sleep around. That extreme black and white thinking is a sign of extreme emotional immaturity, and it’s disturbing to think these emotionally stunted whiners actually have kids. These “my kids come FURSSSTTTT!!!” whiners don’t seem to be the most intelligent people. Yet another reason to avoid them. And I’ve never known any parent to give themselves such sanctimonious airs about their parenthood who are anywhere near being the selfless, loving, angelic martyrs they’re so desperate for others to see them as. Genuinely good parents don’t go on the way these idiots do.

      • Jennifer on August 9, 2016 at 11:59 am

        That is funny, insightful and very well written!

  110. Katy88 on July 22, 2016 at 10:01 am

    I am a single woman which was dating a man with a 19 year old, which I just ended the relationship because I just could not take it anymore. There was a very bad divorce on his end which the ex wife wouldn’t let him see his son for 10 years. So the entire time I dated him no child was in the picture. He had so much pain over not seeing his son, I so wanted him to see his son. I had even gone to court and spoke in his behalf so he would see him ( bc of a RO). Well, he finally got to see him, the ex wife disowned the kid because of all this, and a lot of problems in the home, and suddenly this stranger came to live with us-full custody. I had heard through the courts bad stories of this kid, but I hoped was because of his ex wife. Well let me tell you my life turned into a nightmare, the kid was so disrespectful, bringing drugs into my home, wanting to drink ( at 18) and my BF because of the guilt, let him do whatever he wanted. I felt I was constantly number 2 about every situation, and in the end wasn’t really about the kid, was about what my BF allowed him to get away with. I felt I was just a freaking maid. What really killed me was how this son treats his father, so disrespectful, every week he was constantly asking for 150 bucks, you know for drugs, and if I said anything to my BF about trying to get him to control his son, he would just tell me off. He would say his son comes first, take or leave it. The final straw was, that I wanted to go on a trip, which he and i spoke of for so many years but he said, he didn’t want to spend…kid comes along and guess what???and they planned one without me. He said I need to spend time alone with my son. I’m not a spoiled princess but I also believe if a person is going to be in a relationship they should also consider their partner. I understand they need alone time and that is fine with me, I have friends and hobbies. I do not need to be the center 24/7 but also a partner should also make time for you. Do they realize putting a child first all the time, allowing them to be a spoiled brat and totally control their life, is making a monster that will not go away, and setting them up for a life of being difficult with EVERYONE. As a kid growing up, I never controlled my parents life. We moved one year 8 times, was horrible for me, but I was the child was not my choice to make..-I am seeing too many kids are our of control because their parents allow them to make their decisions, its crazy. If I spoke to my father the way this kid speaks to his father, let me tell you he wouldn’t of been buying me a brand new car. I just got tired of cooking dinners, cleaning all the time..having his son, take his food and leave it all over my house and not once did he ever have to clean up after himself. And neither his father or this kid appreciated what I did. Since they moved out, the son totally robbed his father, sold his stuff and he still gives him whatever he wants.

  111. Denise Johnson on July 27, 2016 at 1:16 am

    Children are children. They are meant to be children and respected as such. Your partner is your partner. Naturally, I would think you place your priorities on your partner or with them, not your child. A loving, balanced partnership is 2 equals. Children, pets, belongings and everything else has no place in between. If either partner feels the need to argue or cause the other partner jealousy, at all, they need to be let go of. If you can’t see that for what it is, there should not be a relationship, at all. No way should anyone else or anything come in between a relationship.

    • Anna on July 30, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Very well said, I totally agree!

  112. SifuIlona on July 28, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    I think that single moms and dads need their adult time with adult people. I don’t think, however, that the kids should be involved unless its a serious relationship. Go have fun with someone who wants to have fun with you. Single parents can go out and have fun and still take care of their children well. In fact, I think single parents who have an outside adult life fare much better than those who don’t. But I would not gauge a dating relationship with a married relationship – two different things. Once there is a marriage involved, the marriage must come first. It is the best example you can give to your children, and believe me – as a mom with four children – three of them already gone and one more soon to fly – the deep intimate companionship a strong marriage provides will continue to be a great example to your children. Your kids need you single parent! They also need their extended family members, your friends, their friends, lots of opportunity to stretch, all within the boundaries set to keep feeling safe and cared for. It’s really not that hard.

    • Emma on August 1, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      Well said

  113. JP on August 2, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    The attitude of some of these sanctimonious mommies and daddies is disturbing. They love to pretend there’s only two options; either revolve your world around your kids (ie use them as an excuse to never make an effort for your partner, while at the same time, narcissistically expecting your partner to make an effort for you) or abandon kids alone at home while you get drunk in bars and sleep around. That extreme black and white thinking is a sign of extreme emotional immaturity, and it’s disturbing to think these emotionally stunted whiners actually have kids. These “my kids come FURSSSTTTT!!!” whiners don’t seem to be the most intelligent people. Yet another reason to avoid them. And I’ve never known any parent to give themselves such sanctimonious airs about their parenthood who are anywhere near being the selfless, loving, angelic martyrs they’re so desperate for others to see them as. Genuinely good parents don’t go on the way these idiots do.

  114. Eugene Green on August 3, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    Not even sure how I ended up on this website or post; but its possible to love and spend time with more than one person. May that be kids , dates or friends. Im a single father, and because me and my ex have the rest our lives together and drama free ( health, Job, hobbies, goals ) taking care of our son even between dating, runs smoothly . All this drama come when single parents don’t have other life affairs in order, then the kids become an easy scapegoat or what our life revolves on. Kids grow up and move on, put it all in perspective.

    Now there is an issue dating people without kids who don’t have similar “humbleness” or understanding of responsibility. Like if you grew up without any kind of hardships, and think the world revolves around you, yes I could see it not working. I had six brothers and sisters and was the oldest, by the time I had my own kid It felt business as usual . Work, take care of kids, move on to other aspects of my life. BUT some people, parents or not, make the biggest deal of kids. Like “OMG how am I going to change diapers, the crying, daycare, school blah blah.” There are many things in my life I take care of , are you not capable of the same ?

    People in general create unnecessary drama and hardships. Take care of your responsibilities, do what makes you happy, have goals and hobbies, live life.

  115. Jilly on August 6, 2016 at 3:42 am

    My man of 3 years is a wonderful step father & partner to my kids & I, Then he gets his 2 kids, which I also adore, but in those 2 36hour weekends, his contact with me is minimal, & his whole attitude towards me changes, he’s rude,short & gets plan nasty .i understand he wants to spend time with them, I just wish he didn’t take me off the pedestal ., Then they leave & we’re happy family again., it’s frustrating & I’m starting to dread their fortnightly visits.. Not because of the kids, because of him.

  116. Anne on August 6, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    That’s sick. You shouldn’t be allowed to have children. YOUR CHILDREN SHOULD ALWAYS COME FIRST. Stop being such a desperate cougar and go take care of them. I hope their dad get them because they shouldn’t think this is normal, this is the result of feminism and selfish women.

  117. Jill on August 9, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    I don’t have kids by my own but I’m a stepmom to two beautiful girls aged 21 & 24. They are both away bc of college but always stay with us on holidays.
    When I married their dad they were teens and they stayed with him on weekends and he was always clear about who comes first (the girls) and tbh, I think he’s right. The girls call me mom and I don’t have any reasons to complain about my hubby’s priority because I have always known.
    I chosed not to have children because we can’t always be optimistic, there’s always a chance that the marriage won’t work out and if I did had children, they’d be my top priority.
    Marriages, affairs and relationships can end but your children will ALWAYS be your children!
    The girls are intelligent, happy and kind and I can see how the “partnership” between my husband and I and their mom worked out.
    You can be sure they wouldn’t learn no good if they read online their mom prefer a 15 years younger toyboy than her own children. You only have a chance to raise your children alright, so do it right. They don’t deserve to grow up thinking that putting a random man before then is normal.

  118. Mr X on August 10, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    LOL Emma! Your son is gonna see your internet babblings one day and he’s gonna grow up hating women and treating them like pieces of meat to be used and discarded.

  119. Lisa on August 19, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Thank you. I’ve recently left a relationship because of this. I dated a single dad who put his daughter before me at every opportunity. It got to the point where I became ‘the other woman’ without even being that. When he had her for his 50% – He wouldn’t answer my calls until she was in bed at night, he would take her out to dinner dates in expensive restaurants and shopping dates (she’s 8) and ignore me. At first I tried to reason with myself that I had to be aware he had a child and was doing his best. Then came the ‘I cook for her whatever she wants and then I cook for myself later’ then there was the ‘I keep my facial hair- beard because my daughter would be upset if I cut it off even though you wouldn’t like kissing me with it’ then came the ‘my daughter has to come first because of the divorce’ then came the weekend where he tried to revert back on taking me out to a hotel for a night because he just couldn’t bear to leave his daughter with his sister because she would get upset not having her father round (he isn’t there when she is at her mum’s place) but reluctantly went and spent a night with me in a hotel and then decided to try and get rid of me before breakfast because he had plans with his daughter.

    How did I feel? Betrayed, 2nd best, not good enough etc. I was willing to take on a relationship with a single dad and he just didn’t have his priorities straight.

    I wanted and needed ‘us’ decisions.

  120. Jillian on August 22, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    With mine ….. His son is 26 !!! And he still can’t cut the cord !!

  121. DJ on August 30, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    I’m a little late but I just found your article. Why do people insist on making their life hell just because you had kids? Children should never be the center of your universe. Your family should be. If you have for some reason lost or divorced your kids father than your family has grown. He has his girlfriend you have your boyfriend and you guys have to learn to adjust as a family. That does not mean putting the children first. Everyone seems to think children are so fragile. They are not. When raised to be independent they are glorious to watch as they grow into a wonderful adults. But if we don’t show them that we can love someone and be committed to someone then they don’t know how to have a real relationship that works. Because children learn from watching you as their trainer an adult. Back in my grandmothers day people show to children that family comes first you had to work at your relationship to make it work. And my Mother’s Day divorce was a little more prevalent but people still made their relationships work. Now in our day children are used to saying if they don’t get along with their mothers partner then the mother makes the partner go away. This is also done with dad. When children notice that daddy can change girlfriends at the drop of a hat well then they learned that relationships are disposable. You do not need a relationship to function. But everybody needs a relationship. Someone to talk to and feel loved.

    • Emma on September 1, 2016 at 1:16 pm

      Thanks for this perspective: “Why do people insist on making their life hell just because you had kids? Children should never be the center of your universe. Your family should be. If you have for some reason lost or divorced your kids father than your family has grown.”

  122. C.B. on September 14, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    I was a single mother and I met my fiance (been engaged for 2 weeks now and together for almost a year) on a dating site. You love your kids and you can love your partner both whole heartedly. It’s a different type of love. I love my daughter with ALL of my heart. I love my fiance with ALL of my heart. Just like you can totally love a chocolate milkshake from Mcdonalds but also love a strawberry milkshake from Burger King. Two different milkshakes but you love both equally it just depends on what restaurant you stop at that day. I agree with the fact that if you’re choosing to be in a relationship you have to be ready and willing to devote a good portion of your time to the other person. I still took care of my daughter and functioned as a capable adult but at the same time he had all of my attention. Even if it was just texting or talking on the phone. When he worked I gave him his space and when my daughter truly needed all of my attention she got it. Multitasking isn’t hard most people are pros at it. I want my daughter to look at my relationship as she grows up and see that he and I love each other dearly and we will always work through our problems like adults. I want her to see how a relationship should be. We are happy and she is happy. She even calls him daddy. It takes work. It’s totally possible and if you can’t understand that you truly do need to give the person you say you want in your life in that way the most attention you can then you don’t need to be in a relationship. Plain and simple.

  123. David Winsor on September 17, 2016 at 11:32 pm

    I think your own words judge you, Emma: “I meet *most* men that I date …” So, you’re a perpetual dater? You see? No man wants you for more than a date! No man wants an ongoing relationship with you. You’re clearly entirely absorbed with yourself. I doubt you even care about the guy on the other side of the table/bed.

    Try putting your kids FIRST, not just ahead of your date or your boyfriend, but ahead of YOU! Clearly, you’re a miserable person. I would dump you the moment I found out that you didn’t put your children’s happiness and needs before your own, forget about my happiness and needs if I found myself with you.

    By the way, I have four beautiful children and wouldn’t even talk to a woman that wanted me to put my kids last. If they don’t like it, they can get out.

    You’re a wealthy mommy? Try to find a way to buy yourself a clue …

    – David

    • Emma on September 19, 2016 at 10:00 am

      Wait a minute. Why do you assume that my only goal – or the only goal for anyone – is to find a long-term relationship? Sounds like that is your goal (which is fine), and you are having trouble finding a partner. Perhaps be open to prioritizing your lover and yourself, and a wonderful woman can come into your family.

      • Dee on September 29, 2016 at 11:00 pm

        It saddens me that there is so much hurt and feelings of guilt circulating that parents aren’t allowing themselves the joys of love.
        I personally feel and this is just my opinion, that when parents devote all their focus onto their children it is not out of love or concern however, a way for them to conceal looking at themselves and learning to truly love who they are.
        Everyone deserves to be loved and feel loved. And showing love in actions is such a healthy way of teaching children to love as well. It’s really a beautiful thing. More good comes from loving yourself and knowing you are worthy of love and opening yourself to that vulnerable place.
        I promise you it will be magical. Let the guards down and let love in. Your family will be much better for it!
        Best of luck to all

  124. Robert Talbot on October 9, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Whyyyyyeee doo you talk like thaaat? A 14 year old adolescent?

    Have you actually heard yourself speaking? It’s very annoying to listen to even though you have some valid things to say.

    Adjust the way you talk and your opinions will be much more palatable for mature adults.

  125. Lilly on October 24, 2016 at 10:58 am

    I couldn’t agree more with this! The part about the online dating especially struck a chord. Guys who post that kind of stuff creep me out. Mostly because it’s actually proven that entering a step-parent into a family almost always has a negative effect on the kids. Most children don’t want a stepparent and it usually takes them a long time to get adjusted to the new situation. By dating the parent is already putting the child behind their own wish, and that’s ok! Everyone deserves a shot at a new relationship and happiness! But the hypocrisy of then stating your kids come first irks me to no end. It always feels like they’re trying to say, I come first, I want you to be my partner but I’m going to use my kids as an excuse to not fulfill my duties to our relationship and you can’t complain because… The kids. That’s not fair.

    Besides, why would you want to model such a “relationship” to your child? So your son grows up treating his wife like she’s replacable and your daughter grows up feeling like she’s supposed to be treated like some elevated household pet? I think putting your kids first when dating will seriously harm them in the long run so from my perspective, not putting them first IS putting them first. You just have to find the right balance.

  126. Allyson on October 24, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    There is a huge difference between a long-married couple putting their relationship first in a not-blended family, and a single parent who puts random online dates, hot weekends, and assorted romances ahead of the children he or she is parenting. It’s almost disingenuous, and in many ways unfair, to directly compare the two and suggest that kids in the second situation do just as well because there’s “more love to go around.”

    Women are socially indoctrinated from early childhood to privilege romantic relationships and prioritize them above nearly everything else. As a result, when we’re single parents, we tend to make exactly the mistake you advocate in this post, putting our social and romantic lives ahead of the children for whom we’re responsible. I made that mistake, and my children suffered for it very much. Unfortunately, we don’t get do-overs and neither do our kids — so we’d damn well better get it right during the only chance we have.

    If we don’t have their backs at all times, make them feel loved, secure, and safe, show up when it counts, be there when they need us, and give them the gift of our time, energy, and priority, who will? If they don’t learn from us that family comes first, where will they learn it? Not from the men propositioning us on Tinder, meeting us for one-coffee wonder dates, texting for midnight booty calls, or expecting us to drop everything because they want our time and attention *right now.*

    Kids are not stupid. They know when they come in second, third, or last on Mom’s priority list. If some random guy with flowers and a penis ranks ahead of them, how does that make them feel? How is it going to make them feel as adults when they think about dating, marriage, and having children?

    Family comes first.

    • MrsMRS on January 13, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      THIS. People are comparing the marriages of their BIOLOGICAL parents to a stepparenting setup.

      It is not the same.

      My parents have been married almost 50 years and damned straight their marriage came first. But they raised us all together. We knew we had their love even when we got in trouble.

      As a former single mom who married a single dad, it is NOT THE SAME. My kids have a dad. His kids have a mom. It takes years – psychologists say 7-12 for a stepfamily to “blend” if they ever do.

      The marriage partnership has to be strong to get to that blended status.

      You cannot put your DATING life before your kids. That’s insanity.

  127. Rachel on October 28, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Making a spouse a top priority is very, very different than making the chick you just met on Tinder a top priority. All the examples you gave of a dad losing relationships because he put his kids first are great examples of the dad willing to let go of relationships that would interfere with his kids. Reading that he got up and left in the middle of the date because his son called upset actually made me admire this guy.

    Single parents just don’t have the same amount of time or attention to give to someone they are dating that someone who doesn’t have kids will have. Dating single parents is not for everyone. If you can’t handle the lack of attention, don’t date single parents. Really, though. I know it sucks because there are a lot of awesome single parents who you can have great connections with, but it’s just not fair to either person in these situations. It’s not fair to the person who feels neglected, forgotten, and unimportant, and it’s not fair to the person who is being pressured to change their relationship with their child for someone else’s benefit, and its CERTAINLY not fair to the CHILD. Can you imagine if your relationship with your parent was so unpredictable because it depended on whatever the person they were dating at that time wanted?

    I was a single mom when I started dating my boyfriend, who was a single dad. Neither of us had much time to spend with the other. Both of us were parents first, and we both respected that about the other person. Honestly, though, if I hadn’t been so busy with my own child, I think the lack of attention and quality time with my boyfriend would have really bothered me. I’m pretty sure the only reason it worked is because we were both busy with our kids. Neither of us were sitting at home just wishing the other would make time for us. Our relationship progressed very slowly, but it progressed steadily and our kids had plenty of time to adapt to the slowing changing dynamics.

  128. John on November 1, 2016 at 1:36 am

    You have to find the right fit. Thats the point of dating, don’t take it personal. If a girl dumps me for leaving to go handle my fatherly duties well, good because she wasn’t right for me. Its all a test, just stand back and watch what happens. Now that same girlfriend could be loving and understanding, appreciate a good man, father, and take note that he is being responsible.

  129. zlote monety on November 8, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    The subsequent time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt fpfoggd disappoint me as a lot as this one. I imply, I do know it was my choice to read, but I actually thought youd have something fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could fix if you happen to werent too busy on the lookout for attention.

  130. Adult Child With Single Mom Who Dated on November 9, 2016 at 9:08 am

    If you’re going to date while having children, do your best to keep the kids out of it. Date behind their backs on the nights you drop them off with the sitter or with their friends. And if you know if its not going to work out well (like your marriage), then you probably shouldn’t let those influences affect your home life in the first place, if you know you aren’t emotionally equipt to handl
    . I’ve seen my mom go into depressions because of her relationship problems with her boyfriend, and I don’t think its ever fair for the child who already has to deal with a divorce, and a father who they can’t live with, to then deal with another breakup, their fatherish-figure no longer being around, and their only sense of security and stability (their main parent) no longer being completely there due to their emotional turmoil.

    No you shouldn’t live “for” your kids, but pretending that they’re just furniture in your house, and aren’t affected by your breakups and whoever you bring into your home, is obsessively narcissistic and inconsiderate. Don’t think for a second it isn’t messing with their sense of stability, security or who they can trust. When you have kids, you are obligated to them. Period. Just like any commitment in life. You can’t put yourself before two undeveloped persons you brought into the world, who are in the most sensitive phase of their entire life.

  131. Jenn on November 30, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Once you have kids they come before you and anyone else. If you don’t believe that you’re a peice of shit. I’d expect this attitude from someone who doesn’t have kids but coming from someone who has them? Fuck you. The author of this article is trash.

  132. Jess on December 2, 2016 at 5:52 am

    I understand putting your spouse first if you are still married to the mom/dad of the child. However, the dynamics change if you are single. It’s one thing to take care of yourself, going to the gym, eating well, regular dentist visits, etc, but to put a stranger (someone you’re dating) first is not ok. That is how you get those stories about kids getting molested or killed by a parent’s significant other and wondered why the parent would allow such horror to happen to their children.

  133. Yes on December 11, 2016 at 8:29 am

    Heck, I have a girlfriend that not only puts her kids first, but her ex husband as well. We dated for years and being where her kids can see their dad is more important than being with me. I have kids myself and have offered to move to where she is. But she doesn’t want to get married, even though she says she loves me. I feel she’s trying to look good in his eyes because of what’s happen in their failed marriage. I was the reason she finally left him. But there were other major problems before I was involved. I think she’s trying to make things up by sacrificing her happiness for him because she blames herself still for her situation. She has so much to offer and is a wonderful girl. But will not commit. I keep holding on hoping she will change her mind. She sacrifices for her ex and I sacrifice and wait for her. When we are together it’s amazing. When we are apart I get doubt and insecurity and Jealousy from her because she believes I’m talking to other girls. Which is the fartherest from the truth. It’s a vicious cycle. And of course I’m in Love which blinds me to a certain extent. She’s not living her life to her full potential and neither am I.

  134. Linda on December 14, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    For 2 years after my divorce, I put my kids before myself. When my ex got remarried (after 21 girlfriends and yes, we counted), I took back a former “date” that had been in rehab. My adult, already moved out of the house, kids, took serious exception to this and are now not speaking to me. Worse, they are tainting the one that still lives at home. This man has been nothing but good and decent to me. In spite of the fact that one of the ones not speaking to me has been to rehab. they have become judge, jury, and executioner to this man. Their ultimatium to me is that if I don’t dump this man, they will never again speak to me or allow me to see my grandchildren. I’m caught in the middle and they won’t even talk to this guy so they don’t even know him. Worse, these kids told me I shouldn’t ever date or go out with anyone ever again and that if I live with someone or remarry they will have nothing to do with me. Oddly, they already aren’t having anything to do with me except to lecture me about the man I am with. I still spend quality time with my daughter who is at home and stay in contact with one of the children that has moved out on a regular basis. The other 2 won’t speak to me at all. Talk about a dilemma. I’m to be single forever?

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  136. Eric on December 29, 2016 at 10:30 am

    This article is frightening to me. What I have read is that you have had bad experiences dating men that are in and of themselves not good examples of what fathers and men should be. I myself have dated women who would ditch their children in a minute for a man and expect that man to do the same for them. They have also expected me to fill my every thought with them and take every available moment to spend it with them as well. No matter what you say this is not reality.

    The authors and articles you reference, you are taking out of context to sell your article. They are referring to relationships where the husband and wife are the biological parents of the children. In this case, the husband and wife come first. They were together before the children and that relationship comes first! This is also the foundation for every example of a relationship your children will learn. Joining 2 different families together with their own history (hurts and memories) does not put you or any other person at the top of the list above the children. One day over time, emotional growth and trust will allow someone to become close to the same level as ones own children. There are unique situations such as the death of a spouse that requires a different and careful approach.

    You as a women chose to give birth to these children, with that choice comes a responsibility! The same goes for the father! All this article promotes is the narcissistic society that we currently live in.

    With all that being said, I agree there needs to be balance. There does need to be personal and adult time. However, as a single father I have found many ways to take physical care of myself, perform as expected in my career, and have a personal life without making my kids feel like I am running out the door to fill a personal void.

  137. Javier on January 6, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    I do not agree that a person after divorcing the father or mother of their children should put their new partner first….I do believe to be a good thing when it’s the parents of the kids (staying married). I think the problem now a days is exactly this!! Putting focus on the new partner instead of focusing on themselves & the kids. Today a lor of people believe that is finding someone that makes them feel great is happiness, but it is NOT!!! If a person is not happy with themselves, NO other person will make then happy!!
    Again, I’m not saying to leave your date or your new partner hanging every time your kid/s break a nail or something small….I’m talking about the important things that will impact your child when he/she grows up!

    • Louise B on January 10, 2017 at 1:58 pm

      I haven’t read all the comments as there are a lot but I have read enough to feel I would like to express my views. I think Emma misses the point of being a parent in the first place. I understand life happens and everyone deserves to be happy (I am a divorced mum of two amazing kids and I am now engaged to an amazing man). Yes of course it’s hard work integrating a new person into an established family with children but most things worth having don’t come easy. To me, the point of being a parent is providing a stable, loving home, ensuring that your children know how important they are and that their needs are seen as a priority. How a child is treated in their childhood sets them up for life. Children that feel important and loved will no doubt grow up feeling secure and have good self esteem and that is the job you take on as parent. It’s the most important job a person can have in their life, being responsible for the how another person will feel about themselves throughout the rest of their life. It should not be taken lightly. It is not a lifestyle choice it’s is a huge responsibility. My children are shared equally between their dad and I and the children enjoy two stable loving households with two sets of loving parents. My partner does not have children of his own at the moment but he loves me and makes the biggest effort he can with the children. in turn they love him and he loves them. it’s not always easy but family life isn’t anyway. MY partner knows how much I love him but he knows and accepts I have to put the kids needs first as does he. We have time together when the kids are with their dad and put the kids at the centre of our world when we have them. My partner sometimes does boy stuff with my son and I spend time with my daughter. Children should come first. Any decent parent would think that. Emma, if you are just dating people they certainly do not deserve to come before your children. You are putting yourself first there. I think if everyone put the kids needs so that mums and dads got equal access, then step families would be easier too. I know this is not always possible but a selfless attitude towards kids should always be the priority to me. Taking the decision to have children is a massive responsibility and the least a parent can do is ensure they are given the best childhood possible to give them the best start in life. Yes the kids will put their partners first as an adult but that’s totally different. Parents make sacrifices not children. That’s how it works. ALl I want is for my kids to grow up stable and happy. I want them to find a loving partner and enjoy life. I have the capacity and maturity to love both my children and partner and show them this. We try our best to be a family. Anyone who tries to justify being a selfish parent should look at the outcome of their work in twenty, thirty, forty years. If their children are functional and happy people, then great. Its fine to put your kids second. But you won’t know until it’s too late. Is it really works the risk?? To fail at the most important and precious job given to you in life? I don’t think so.

    • Sarah b on January 10, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      I haven’t read all the comments as there are a lot but I have read enough to feel I would like to express my views. I think Emma misses the point of being a parent in the first place. I understand life happens and everyone deserves to be happy (I am a divorced mum of two amazing kids and I am now engaged to an amazing man). Yes of course it’s hard work integrating a new person into an established family with children but most things worth having don’t come easy. To me, the point of being a parent is providing a stable, loving home, ensuring that your children know how important they are and that their needs are seen as a priority. How a child is treated in their childhood sets them up for life. Children that feel important and loved will no doubt grow up feeling secure and have good self esteem and that is the job you take on as parent. It’s the most important job a person can have in their life, being responsible for the how another person will feel about themselves throughout the rest of their life. It should not be taken lightly. It is not a lifestyle choice it’s is a huge responsibility. My children are shared equally between their dad and I and the children enjoy two stable loving households with two sets of loving parents. My partner does not have children of his own at the moment but he loves me and makes the biggest effort he can with the children. in turn they love him and he loves them. it’s not always easy but family life isn’t anyway. MY partner knows how much I love him but he knows and accepts I have to put the kids needs first as does he. We have time together when the kids are with their dad and put the kids at the centre of our world when we have them. My partner sometimes does boy stuff with my son and I spend time with my daughter. Children should come first. Any decent parent would think that. Emma, if you are just dating people they certainly do not deserve to come before your children. You are putting yourself first there. I think if everyone put the kids needs so that mums and dads got equal access, then step families would be easier too. I know this is not always possible but a selfless attitude towards kids should always be the priority to me. Taking the decision to have children is a massive responsibility and the least a parent can do is ensure they are given the best childhood possible to give them the best start in life. Yes the kids will put their partners first as an adult but that’s totally different. Parents make sacrifices not children. That’s how it works. ALl I want is for my kids to grow up stable and happy. I want them to find a loving partner and enjoy life. I have the capacity and maturity to love both my children and partner and show them this. We try our best to be a family. Anyone who tries to justify being a selfish parent should look at the outcome of their work in twenty, thirty, forty years. If their children are functional and happy people, then great. Its fine to put your kids second. But you won’t know until it’s too late. Is it really works the risk?? To fail at the most important and precious job given to you in life? I don’t think so.

  138. Louise B on January 10, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    I wrote a message earlier. I put a very good case across why children should come first. You rejected it for publishing on your site despite my filling in the correct fields. I guess I hit a nerve and rubbished your case. Nevermind. I pity your children and the other selfish lady who admits in writing she loves her husband more than her kids. Who says things like that? Shame on you both.

  139. John on January 17, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    No, no, no, and no. A million times no. I will never put anyone or anything in front of my kids. Especially a selfish woman who demands to be first. I got rid of one selfish bitch – no way I’ll let another infect my life.

  140. Ashley on January 28, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    Wow, no. It was your choice to have a child, and then become single. Your love life comes second to your children, especially when they are too young to understand. Being a child that was constantly put in harms way because of a selfish mother who thought exactly like this, I couldn’t disagree more with you. Narcassism is strong with this article.

  141. Bruce Ford on February 13, 2017 at 6:24 am

    I am currently dating a divorced woman with a 3 year old daughter.

    I got involved with my girlfriend knowing that her daughter is her number 1 priority. I would not expect it to be any other way.

    I do think there is a difference between being a priority and being the only priority. Making a child believe that they are the be all and end all of a parents existence does them no favours at all. The priority (in my mind) is to make sure they feel loved, safe and secure. This is all totally possible while still maintaining a healthy, adult relationship. It just takes a lot of patience, understanding and communication.

    Little ones need to learn what a healthy relationship is. I feel responsible for showing my ladies daughter how a man treats a woman so it is an important aspect of life that she is being exposed to. To turn around and dismiss relationships all together would be sending the wrong message.

    So I guess what I am trying to say here is that its not about making any particular people a priority but rather about prioritizing your priorities in a healthy way. i.e. balance.

    • Emma on February 13, 2017 at 9:08 am

      Very well said, and I agree Bruce.

  142. Gwen on March 3, 2017 at 9:28 am

    I date a man and somehow his daughter has moved in with me. I pick her up, I take her home and she lives with me. I have NO time with him. I work two jobs and am caregiver to my mom so there is no intimacy. He’s always too tired when he gets home at night and in fact has begun going home with his son who now lives with him at about 6:30.

    This morning his daughter called me. She never calls me until it’s the weekend. She wanted to know if she could bring her friend over. Where I work the cell phone doesn’t ring and there is no reception. I normally don’t pay much attention to it. I didn’t get her call so he called me to tell me that her friend was coming over. They never ask I just get her and whoever every weekend and he goes home and goes to bed.

    I just told him that his kids come first and always will do whatever he wanted to so he is taking them all to his house. He thinks I’m jealous but I’m not. I’m just tired of everyone assuming it’s OK to come over every single weekend. My mom is sick and has dementia. Kids screaming and cursing all the time is upsetting to her and some weekends I just want it quiet for her. I guess this is my weekend. But at what cost.

  143. Gerard L on March 14, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Hi all. I read the post and a few comments. This helps me a single father of 5 kids to set my principle in my relationship with my girlfriend who is a single mom of 2 adorable Kids! . I agree mainly witj Eric Javier Sarah & Bruce with the following “nuance”. I apply a priority to my kids with a progressive increasing importance to my Love partner and her kids. This is a process, not a binary on/off decision. I make sure to set romantic periods with exclusive focus to my woman. I do the sames with the kids with some occasional “group” activities with all “family” members involved. This is an exciting process! Believe me :-)

  144. Cy on March 15, 2017 at 10:10 am

    I must agree with the author I was a single mother and I knew how to balance raising my child ensuring that he had all the things needed to be safe stable and Loved and just have all the other necessities and then some that you need in life to be productive. that was my role of being his mother but on the other hand I had a life too so I knew how to balance between taking care of my child making sure he’s happy safe and healthy but that does not control 100% of my life if my child needed urgent care of course that’s top priority but if I am out on a date and my child just wants me to come home just because then he can forget about it and wait until I return. I think making your kids believe they are the end all be all it’s really a disservice to them especially as they get older. You never know where your situation will end up and should your grown children control and be top priority The as well? my child is 24 years old now and he’s fine he never felt neglected or not loved or anything but I maintained relationships outside of him so dating men that put their kids before me all the time won’t work I understand there are some instances but all the time hex no! if a man cannot balance how he manages time with his kids then he just needs to be with his kids and not pursue any dating outside of that unless the woman is comfortable with that. most men I date now still have younger children because I was a young mother and the funny thing is some of these men would not date me with a child as being a young mother but now that I am 40 and my child is 24 some of the same men who are probably in divorced relationships or broken up with girlfriends and have children now they think that I am supposed to accept their children and their time schedules and what they want to do when they did not want to do that for me when my child was young. I even had an ex ask could I do his daughter’s hair…WTF?!? so I say you have to have a healthy balance or just focus on your kids and get to a point where you’re ready to devote some time to your mate as simple as that!

  145. Melody on March 31, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    I’m not for or against this article. But after reading a few of the comments, I will say if you aren’t in a position to put someone you’re considering to marry first in your life, you probably shouldn’t waste everyone’s time. I’m a single mom myself & haven’t remarried. I’m not against it, but if I can’t be a complete wife & loving mother then I don’t need to lead anyone on to believe I can. So go ahead & coddle your kids. Make sure they understand just how special & all consuming they are just because their parents divorced. But don’t complain when those kids are grown & miserable because no one else on their world will ever treat them that way. Bad things happen in life. Divorce is horrible for all involved. Sometimes it’s necessary, sometimes not. But you’re not helping your kids out in life by making them the center of anyone’s universe. That’s not reality & it’s best they deal with that whether their parents are still married or divorced.

    • Katrina Petersen on April 11, 2017 at 10:37 am

      Yay for you Melody! I am in complete agreement! This idea that children must be the center of the universe is damaging to us as adults and to them and their future development as people. Children must learn they are NOT the center of our, or anyone else’s universe. Their happiness should be something they learn to create themselves, not rely on others for.

      If our children are safe, fed, clothed, and have a stable place to lay their heads, we are succeeding!!

      • Ash on July 7, 2018 at 8:37 pm

        Thank you, Katrina/Melody! Kids as primary focus?? That just isn’t possible, otherwise the biological parents would still be together under the same roof being loving and “incredible” parents with just the right recipe for raising a “perfect” child, they would never run their errands with the kids in the car (because that certainly isn’t making the kid their #1 priority), they wouldn’t go work (doing a job they love) and just play with the kids and answer to their needs only, etc. It doesn’t exist and if it is like that… you aren’t doing your kids any favors. And even more damaging to tell kids they are the #1 priority. They will possibly resent and distrust you if you do anything for you! It won’t make sense to them. And What does #1 priority actually even mean? What are you going to tell your new partner – sorry your needs come always come second to my kids. Why would anyone want to be in that relationship? You got a divorce, and other people are involved. If you do want that.. it sounds like either you are dating your kids or your 8 year old is calling the shots. An 8 year old should not be calling the shots of your adult life. Not to mention an 8 year old has no problem telling you what their needs are, you should have no problem discussing your needs as well – and working together to find a solution that works for everyone in the world you are living in today…. not yesterday of what used to be or the world you feel sorry didn’t work out. Join today and make it great. Or if you do want to make your kids the only priority, I am imagine the only partner will to accept that someone who considers second to everything in life…. and then ask yourself…. what is that type of personality teaching your kids? Do you want your kids to either model after someone who treats themselves as second or it is okay to treat other people as less important?

  146. Jessica on April 10, 2017 at 12:28 am

    I think most single parents will always put their kids first when they just start dating you, This is completely normal and it doesn’t mean that the single parent you are dating doesn’t care about you. However, if this continues after three months of dating it is a sign that you two should have a conversation. In other words, give the single parent you are dating some time to adjust to the fact that since you both are dating you are becoming as important as his or her kids.

    It is hard to be in love with someone who always puts you in the second spot even though you already dated for the last several months.

  147. Katrina Petersen on April 11, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Hi Emma,

    Thank you for this article. This is so critically important. I’m shocked at all the naysayers here! I am post-divorce and this is something I really struggle with, particularly with my family. I am making the time for myself and they volunteer to “help” but it comes with strings attached. If they offer to babysit, and my planned activity involves a date, I know I’ll be hearing about how I’m “harming my kids”. Oh please, as if I’m supposed to become a born-again virgin?! Stop being a person? So now, I’m actually working with my ex more on co-parenting and hiring babysitters. I don’t want “free” help that comes with the judgment of 30 Yiddish grandmothers!

    My job is to raise my children into responsible, independent adults. This cannot be accomplished by being in their faces 24 hours a day. It’s accomplished by me modeling to them how happy, independent adults live. By giving them time and space to be with other people, to learn to do things for themselves! I LOVE your take on this and wholeheartedly agree!

  148. Sandy on April 14, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    The man who has asked me to marry him is overly devoted to his adult son. When he first told me his ex wife hated his son(she was not the maternal mom). I thought how terrible she was. Now, I understand what she went through. His life revolves around his son. In order for him to make a decision, he must ask his son. If he wants to make a purchase, his son must accompany him. It’s getting to the point where I believe HE put his son between the ex wife and the son. His son is constantly in need of money, and we’re not talking hundreds, but thousands and dad gives into him no matter what. I’ve talked to him very gently but if course, he denies that he caused the dislike between them. My fear is that soon I will feel the same resentment once I say, “I do!”

    • Pop on April 23, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      Why do you want to marry someone you fear will put you in 2nd? If you already fear it, it won’t be better. Sometimes I don’t understand some women…

  149. Pop on April 23, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    I think that as a single parent, the best relationship will be with another single parent. NOT with one that doesn’t have children. I myself found a guy without children and I myself don’t have children. Perfect match! And we can make our own without all that drama involved if one of us had children.

  150. L on August 20, 2017 at 8:46 am

    Man I hate to burst your oh so Don’t you dare sit there typing on your computers that because my mom was a parent she couldn’t date. Don’t give me that BS pain that kids experience when her partner is adult authority. After what my mom went through she has the ultimate right to date and marry whenever and whoever she pleases. My mom doesn’t owe me $hit. As a kid I got my a$$ wooped if I was out of line. I wasnt too bad of a kid but as anyone I did a lot of stupid $h!t. So don’t you ever say that my mom can’t have a slice of the pie. My mom comes before I do because of everything she has done for me. Her and her husband are a couple and I greet them as such. I want her husband to know I have respect and that I value marriage. I’m not perfect but ill be damned if I step in the way of someone else’s happiness. I never felt victimized because my mother had a significant other. I wish I had stricter parents growing up..maybe I would not have made the mistakes I made. Quit backing people in a corner like they can’t ever go out and have a life…parents don’t just fall over and weakly lay down to rest their brital bones once they have kids. I don’t need to go to lunch with my mom everyday and I’m not all bent out of shape about it but I will help my them if I have a necessary resource that is handy by all means it theirs.

  151. Faith Oliver on August 25, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Email: dr_mack@yahoo. com, He is the truth…. He can…turn your heartbreak to joy…. contact him if you want your Ex-lover back.

  152. Stephen on October 3, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    I actually don’t agree with anything you’re saying. You should never put your spouse before your kids. If my spouse promised me the world when we got married and then three years later did a complete 180 and did the exact opposite. Turned into a violent, drunken idiot, beating my kids every night, I would break every bone in their body if they laid a finger on my kids.

  153. K on October 7, 2017 at 8:26 am

    Thanks for this article Emma! I have been dating a single man for 1 year. He has one adult child and one teen. I have one adult child out of the home. I agree with Dr. Laura about putting the marriage first. A happy marriage is a lasting marriage. Too many marriages fail due to lack of intimacy due to the kids always coming first. Just because we become parents does not mean we have to give up our identities and our needs. I would think it would be difficult being a good parent when we are miserable. Can you all honestly say that you can stay single and not be in a serious relationship for the next 15 years because your kids will “always come first”? And can you truly date someone knowing that you are not their priority and never will be? It is our human nature to need love and attention just as much as our children. It makes us happy and fulfilled and yes, a better parent. I am not saying that we should ignore our children’s needs, but we would be failure as parents to allow them to dictate our lives and our happiness.

    The person I am dating has his children 50% of the time. The week he does not have his kids is our week. Yes, his kids have tried to interfere in that by trying to plan activities with him during his off week and making him feel guilty for not obliging. However, we both agreed that in order for this relationship to succeed, we need to put ourselves first. When it is his week to have his kids, he spends quality time with them. I still come over once in awhile during his week so that they can feel comfortable with me being around.

    I’ve read most of these remarks about how “my kids always come first” and “my life is messed up because mommy didn’t give me any attention” and I have this to say: If you really think your marriage/relationship is going to last putting your marriage/relationship second, you’re kidding yourselves. To the ones that say you have a great marriage and you put your kids first among everything, are in denial. If your spouse is not getting attention from you, it’s a matter of time before they get it someplace else.
    If you say your life is messed up because “mommy or daddy didn’t give me enough attention”, your issues are deeper than that. Seek therapy.

    I hear complaints that this generation is what is failing our kids and I have to agree. I think this generation is having children for the wrong reasons. Think back why you (if not an oops) you and your spouse decided to start a family and be honest with yourself. Were you feeling empty inside? Was your life getting stagnant? Was your marriage on the brink of ending and you thought maybe having kids would be the “glue” to hold it together? Or were you so satisfied and fulfilled that you wanted to extend your happiness by building on your stable foundation? Something to think about.

  154. Meg on October 13, 2017 at 2:31 am

    I completely disagree with everything stated in this article. I believe the only one that should be first in one’s life is God. Once that’s done, the rest will fall into place.

    I don’t believe in “dating” in the secular sense. Those types of relationships are casual at best, and thus should not take precedence over one’s children. That’s absolutely ridiculous and an appalling expectation, I think, for anyone to have. I had a mother who did this. She had me when she was still rather young (parents never married) and so I ended up spending the majority of my early childhood and pre-adolescent years with my grandmother (her mother) while she went to university. I mainly saw my parents on weekends (mum had one weekend, dad had another, rinse…repeat). So I was always trying to “connect” with them and get to know them, but never got the opportunity to do so because 90% of the weekend visits also included whomever they were dating at the time, and I mostly was sat aside. My mother was the main offender. And most of the male company she chose to entertain were substance-abusing wankers with violent tempers and colourful criminal histories. They all made me uncomfortable, and no matter how much I expressed this to my mum, I was ignored, and she chose to put her time spent with them over her (already limited) time spent with me.

    When she finally finished school, I went to go live with her and the behaviour became even worse. I might as well have been a roommate, that’s how little we connected emotionally. I also struggled with depression as a child, that I’m certain was only amplified by her emotional neglect and insistence on keeping whatever man she was talking to as priority one. There was also physical, verbal and emotional abuse going on with me at her (and my dad’s) hand, and I ended up feeling so abandoned by both of my parents that I sought emotional support from men myself in the most unhealthy ways possible. Eventually, I ended up getting pregnant, ironically at the same age my mum got pregnant with me. The father (who was also abusive) thought I was joking and blew me off. That relationship ended rather violently, also.

    I don’t date. I actually refuse to do so. And still, to this day, I struggle with feelings of abandonment and worthlessness. I don’t speak to my father at all. The last conversation we had was a curt phone call 7 years ago. And the relationship I currently have with my mum is a bloody nightmare. We literally cannot hold a conversation without it turning into an argument. It’s awful. And it’s mostly because we never got a chance to connect. I never really got to build a relationship with her because A) most of my childhood I was with my grandmother, B) when I was with my mum, there was always some bloke in the way. I just know that I wouldn’t want my child to experience what I experienced. I would never put a man before my child, if I ever chose to “date.” That wouldn’t be fair to my child, and would surely put a strain on our relationship in the future. If I’m with someone who can’t grasp that concept, then I don’t know what to tell them. Honestly, sounds like a personal problem, if you ask me. Either get over it, or leave me and my child to our own device, I say.

  155. Annie on October 18, 2017 at 7:55 am

    I could not disagree more. It disgusts me how many children are hurt because their parent put a new man or woman first. This is only true if you are with the parent that it is healthy for children to see this. I am happy if my children are happy. Parents remarry only to have money that should be spent on their children spent or even taken by the new person. Every day you read about steps abusing even killing children. I would not risk it. You do not have to make it all about your children, but once you have them you give up your right to put your or anybody else’s happiness first. This article makes me sick.

    • Karen on October 29, 2017 at 6:00 pm

      Totally agree with you. If you end up a single parent you OWE it to your kids to put them, not your sex life, first. Get them launched as adults and then you can bring as much drama into your life as you want. Honestly, this article really bothers me!

  156. Denise on October 25, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    I’m not sure who can help me with this, but I’m reaching out. I would like to preface with, I haven’t met the kids… and not being parent myself, I personally feel it’s too soon, or was too soon… not sure where I stand right now. We’ve only seen each other since the beginning of September… officially the 10, I’d say… I’m hoping to get some insight from a single dad.

    I’ve started a casual relationship with a single dad who was no only completely enamored and smitten with me, but super forward and came on EXTREMELY strong in the beginning – looking into all sorts of signs like how he plays roller hockey and my 9 yo nephew is an ice hockey goalie, how Ray Bourque was a favorite hockey player and he had the posters up in his living room, Star Wars (seriously, I’m a ridiculous fan and it was refreshing to discuss it with someone how knows what you’re talking about), the way I sighed when we first kissed (I was in denial with that connection), how strong of a physical connection we had, adamant about breaking down my wall (he said things like “cracked away at the bottom (I know, LOL), now cracking away at the top”), etc…. The first few weeks were awesome… and then we started talking about me liking him… and then he remembered all the crap I said in the first 2 weeks of us seeing each other. I told him in those 2 weeks, of which I was still pining for my ex, that I would drop whomever I’m with if he came back. He said how could I say such a thing and I would destroy lives if that happened after a few years… what I didn’t explain, until later, was that I was under the impression I would be in a series of short, casual relationships, so no harm, no fowl. He also brought up raising children, since I’ve never had any of my own (I’m 40, he’s 47 with a 4 year old daughter and a 9 year old son), thanks to my ex (yeah, I’m partially at fault, as well, I know…), and apparently I told him (wondering if I was stupid drunk and ridiculously high) that I wouldn’t want to raise anyone else’s children, since I couldn’t have my own. Those things were enough to be stuck in the back of his head. Again, feelings I had in the beginning of the casual relationship. And I honestly felt the first couple of weeks talking about serious things like children in a casual relationship you have with someone was way too soon, but I’m not a parent and my sister couldn’t answer, considering she’s happily married, but feels she wouldn’t have asked so soon herself, but we’re all different, men and women, etc. Anyway, I started to like him. I certainly wasn’t expecting to EVER get over my ex, wasn’t expecting to ever like anyone, let alone someone with kids, which I’ve never had a relationship with before. Of course now things are weird… we discussed me liking him, which he apparently discussed with his bff (female, which I’m fine with, she can bring a female perspective to this… BUT loves those kids like they were her own, which is great, but can work to my disadvantage if she thinks anything worse than who, or what I am), and because I said what I said about dropping anyone for my ex, he did a 180, and told me I straightened him out, so back to the casual relationship thinking thing… His texts became somewhat infrequent and less cute/flirty, and I told him it was weird and he admitted it was, but felt we could move past it. When I next saw him, which was the next day after that text, things were great, but then I suddenly gave in to my anxieties about not being sure if he was open to this going anywhere, or not, and said if I liked him, I wasn’t sure I could do this pretending I dont’ feel the way I felt.. so I ended up leaving, but talked to him when I got home, thinking he understood where I was coming from and that I actually didn’t want to discontinue our relationship… I also opened up raw to him, stating things like I want the whole package (he kept telling me all the things I said he couldn’t get out of the back of his head and he’s a package deal, which I was aware and understood). He knows how I am with my sister’s children and I’m sure that was what also drew him to me… and I know he still feels SOMETHING for me… so since then, I”ve been trying to do control damage. I haven’t seen him in two weeks, but we still text. I tried to see if we could get together 2 weeks ago, but he had just gotten a new puppy for the kids (early Christmas gift) and his son wanted to spend more time with the puppy, which I totally understood, and then he had to train new guys at work. our schedules conflict, so the only times we were able to see one another was Sundays around 7:30pm and Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays, around the same time… his work schedule blows, but i’m beyond patient and understanding. This week didn’t fair any better, as his son was over Sunday with the puppy (seriously don’t blame him… I would want to smother the puppy myself 24/7), and then the poor kid ended up with the stomach and out until Friday… so he’s had him since last Friday. I thought I broke through the tension Sunday when I sent him a picture asking if we could “play”, to which he was all for, but again, son was at the house, would have to wait until Monday, then the kid ended up sick.

    I finally asked him yesterday if he was still interested (for the record, I’ve apologized and explained and shown a lot of interest since my stupid, immature moment, but there is only so much of that anyone can do, so I’ve just tried to move past it by being flirty and showing interest). He said he finds himself conflicted due to what happened the last time we had seen each other. I’ve been overly anxious over all of this, which is something I’ve been dealing with for 3.5 years of trying to get my ex back (that’s another story…). He was well aware of the mess I was in the beginning, as well… which he admitted… I’m just wondering if I blew it with this guy. I know parents have a lot on their plates between work (especially him being a manager and on top of that having a sick kid in his office this week), so I don’t want to pester him with this stuff, but I don’t know what else to do. I’m smitten with him… he’s my unicorn (which I only figured out AFTER my dramatic bs… wasn’t super dramatic, I just cried and said I didn’t think I could stuff my feelings while we maintained a casual facade)… I just want to fix this, but I totally understand where he’s coming from and his position.

    Please don’t berate me… I have enough anxiety, guilt, remorse and regret for my actions and words… believe me… I keep hoping I didn’t ruin what could’ve been a potentially great thing. Everyone I talk to says I haven’t, but his actions speak louder than their words. I’m still pretending like nothing happened, ask about his son (he’s doing better, thankfully), and sending flirty texts.

    I’m sorry this is so long…

  157. Joe on November 8, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Whoever wrote this article is a sickening selfish cu*t. Kids should always come first because if you were selfish enough to bring them into this world. They didn’t ask to be born. Lowlife

  158. Gloria on November 17, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    I think majority of the people commenting clearly did not understand the article. The author is not just saying that a parent’s partner should come before the children, but parents wants and needs should not be neglected simply because they have children. You’re not just defined by your children, you’re identity is not solely a parent, you have a whole other identy that does not involve your children. The love you get from your children is not the same love you receive from a partner, and if it’s something you need and it’s something that is missing, no one should ever be made to feel terrible just because they put their identity as a parent on pause once in a while. Yes, this can be done, and it’s ok. For the people saying once you have children, then your whole life revolves around them and that’s it, everything else is secondary- well I feel sorry those people, and furthermore you make parenting sound terrible, you make it sound like it’s a chore. If you’re not happy and not addressing your needs, you’re no good to anybody else anyway, everyone deserves to have what makes them happy and having children doesn’t negate that.

  159. becca on November 24, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    I don’t think children should be taught that they are number one or the world revolves around them. However I don’t expect to be more of a priority than my boyfriend’s daughter. She’s six year’s old. She gets limited time with him. Every other weekend is such a small amount of time. So no date nights shouldn’t be around that time. Date nights should be when he doesn’t have her. And if she calls her dad on the phone when she’s older I’m certainly not going to scream and complain. I guess I would like to eventually be put first in a relationship but in reality its not a competition. I would never ever want to come between my boyfriend and his little one. Never.

    Look, I have no children and I’m fully aware the potential of step parenting can be hard. But years ago this woman decided to marry a man with 3 kids. And while I’m sure there at times when she was on the unhappy Stepparent list. I can tell you for a fact that she’s awfully glad that she has us in her life. The marriage did not last but the three of still love and adore our Stepmom.

    Honestly I think in reality families all should be taught to consider and factor in EACH other’s needs. Parents should respect children’s time and feelings. Children should respect parents. Crazy mutual respect must be learned.

  160. Promise on December 25, 2017 at 1:34 am

    SBeen a little over a yr his son is 35 lives with him with his granddaughter, He babysits granddaughter every day plus Saturday, I just want time . Not sure if I am gonna keep doing this. Son does nothing grand dad wakes child up takes her to school he expects nothing but for him to work but not be totally responsible for his child grrrr, tired.

  161. Blair on February 7, 2018 at 5:21 am

    Ridiculous and sad. Heartless and gross. The only thing more atrocious than your opinion is that people agree with you.
    Children always come first. They depend on you and you brought them into this world. Nothing is more important than a child, not a booty call, not a date, and certainly not the gym! What is this world coming to!

    • becca on April 24, 2018 at 12:45 am

      Well the gym is often necessary for health. So some working out is good for the kids (healthy mommy and Daddy). In everything there is balance. There are couples who put everything in the child and ignore each other. Than the relationship breaks down and that’s hardly good for the child.

      It’s all about balance. A boyfriend and a girlfriend should not be more important than one’s child. Children have needs and require sacrifice. If anything one should be looking to see if the new significant other is understanding of the needs of children. And the significant other should look at and see what kind of father/mother the person is now to the children they already have.

      However I do believe that children shouldn’t be taught world revolves around them and yes sometimes mom and dad go on a trip (once in awhile) or go on a date night.

  162. Chris 70119 on February 17, 2018 at 6:31 pm

    Children are a lifelong commitment. Part of that commitment is sacrifice. Boyfriends and girlfriends may come and go, but children are forever. Putting your relationship first is selfish. It’s not all about you and your happiness. If you or your significant other are to be put above everything else, you really should ask yourself why you had kids. I wish that people had to pass a test to be parents like they do to be doctors, lawyers, etc. Too many people who have kids shouldn’t do it. What is called a right should indeed be a privilege.

    • afs on April 24, 2018 at 10:31 am

      if a child is going to be the first its better never date anyone

  163. KD on February 27, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Wow. This post appalls me. The adage of parents coming first applies to intact families; a child never feels threatened or jealous of his own parent, who also loves him deeply.

    But hey, go right ahead and put who you are dating first if you are a single parent. My mom did that and my brother killed himself in August, after years of coming 2nd to her new husband.

  164. Lindsey Walton on March 21, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Welcome to the 21st century where adults feel threatened by children when it comes to their own intimate relationship. Wow. What a selfish person, to expect their partner to put their own child aside because they feel like they need the attention more. I don’t even have kids yet and I am one to get a little annoyed about how parents coddle their children but never in my life would I expect a boyfriend to push their own kid aside regardless of what it is about because I need more attention. YOU ARE AN ADULT. F***ing act like one.

  165. Insidious_Sid on April 5, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    LOGIC IN 2018:

    I’m a strong independent single career mom! I put my kids first!
    (No, you can’t do that. If you don’t look after yourself, you can’t be the best mom you can be!)
    Oh, okay, You’re right! I deserve a relationship so I can be happy, so I’ll do that first.
    (Good thinking! And don’t forget your social life! You have to be happy, right?!)
    Great! So I can take care of career, my social life AND my relationship and not feel guilty!
    And by doing that, I’m really putting my KIDS FIRST!
    (Told ya! They were right… you really CAN have it all!)

    Guys: Let these strong independent mommies stay strong and stay independent.
    When they leave you, they’re just going to say you held them back anyways.
    Oh, and you probably will resent paying child support for some tatoo’d stud’s kids.

  166. Dave from Oz on April 5, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    The main abuser of children is partners that are not parents of the child. Which is to say: mom’s dirtbag boyfriend or dad’s golddigger girlfriend. So often, the kids would be better off being made wards of the state than living with a de-facto stepparent.

    • Dave from Oz on April 5, 2018 at 9:44 pm

      Never forget that your child is just someone else’s kid to every man in the world except for one.

      • Yovina on April 26, 2018 at 9:45 pm

        I have to agree! For instance I’m with this guy for 5 and 1/2 years. I am divorced with tow daughters, 20 and 14 yrs old. Great kids and a little messy. My boyfriend is leaving me because my older daughter apparently used his razor to shave her legs. She says she didn’t use it and he insists she did. He hates lies and is leaving us for that. I am lost because I don’t know how to feel about this whole thing:( I guess my exhusband wouldn’t care or make a big deal over something like this.

        • abanni on June 19, 2018 at 11:34 am

          He is leaving because he wants to , if its that easy lets him go, it means he has always seen your kids as a burden.

  167. Maggie on April 8, 2018 at 6:31 am

    My son was five when I divorced his father. I was was 34. If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t have dated, been in serious relationships, or married until my son was off to college.

  168. Dating with Kids: A Litmus Test for Love | WomanSpeak on May 29, 2018 at 11:41 am

    […] of my favorite single parent dating articles I’ve come across is “Why single parents should put their kids second when dating” by Emma Johnson of WealthySingleMommy.com. Because of the competing demands in my life and how […]

  169. […] of my favorite single parent dating articles I’ve come across is “Why single parents should put their kids second when dating” by Emma Johnson of WealthySingleMommy.com. Because of the competing demands in my life and how […]

  170. MissDeee on June 11, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    I know this is an old post, but thank you. As a mid 30 something childless woman this has been a major challenge and after two disappointments I am not willing to go down the dating a single dad road again. If I can make you my priority, I have every right to deserve the same. If you can’t give that to me then there is absolutely no point in us dating. I have had many men get downright get angry and insult me for this view, but whatever. I am not wasting my time on a situation where 9 times out of ten I will not get the relationship I desire.

  171. NoPieceOfAssIsWorthMoreThanYourKids on June 12, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    I was a single mother with a child. I didn’t date a lot because I had other priorities. When I did find someone I thought was suitable, he had kids. He, as I had always done, expected me to expect any “date” we had would be a family function. He always put his kids first just as I had always put mine first. I would never have continued to date him if I suspected he put me above his children because nobody would have ever come before mine. We have been together for over a decade and we love each other hard; we love our family hard.

    However, I will tell you what it means when single parents date and put that partner before their children. From my perspective, it means their children end up abused/neglected. It means those children who needed parents to love, support, and guide them into adulthood have ended up homeless because a parent’s partner came before them. It means these children have ended up at mine and my husband’s door, broken and homeless. It means that all these so-called adults around me have chosen a piece of ass over their own flesh and blood.

    My husband and I have found housing and resources for more than a few older children put on the streets because there wasn’t enough room for them and whatever partner their parents had put first. We have accepted two into our home. My husband, the man who put his children first, has built a loving relationship and home with me, a woman who put her child first. Somehow we manage to even value other people’s children more than these people value their own children. Funny thing is that these parents still haven’t quite figured out how to have meaningful relationships even with their children cast away. Maybe it is selfishness. After all, there is no place for selfishness in a solid relationship and desiring to be number one over somebody’s children is really fucking selfish.

    Valuing and investing in children has never meant we weren’t able to achieve the best relationship of our lives. I truly feel valued by my partner and I do everything I can to make sure he feels valued as well. He is my best friend and our family is our best thing. The heart is big enough to love many people; you can have a great relationship if you have kids while continuing to put them first. You have to ask yourself this: do you really want to build a life and potentially have children with somebody who could easily put those children, your children, aside? If you are fine with that, you don’t need kids and neither does the person brushing off their own.

  172. Brandy on July 15, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    As a single mother, I have endured dating. I personally believe that time should be split equally. No parent should put their spouse above their children and the children shouldn’t be above the spouse. I think it takes two people to make a relationship work. I have always been really good with kids, to a point where I think independence is a good thing. I value their opinion and I respect it. I may not agree with it or even go along with it, but the truth is children are little people who will grow up to be big people, and when you are dealing with them you have to teach them what to expect as they age and one of those is realistically they will come across someone with kids. If you can show them that they can be loved and involved as well in the relationship too then that’s good, but you also have to teach them that mommies and daddies need time for themselves. There is no shame in that. Your child should understand that no matter where you are or who you are with you will value and respect them as people. They are just as important to you as you are to them. They have to grow out of that egocentric thinking. Children are naturally that way. One of the hardest things is teaching them to share. When their parents are loving and welcoming they become that way. When their parents are selfish and egocentric they become that way. A child is still a little person who will become an adult and as adults there are things better learned through childhood. Unconditional love and Sharing are two of those things. I love my kids dearly but never would I accept their mistreatment or harshness to my guy. Nor would I allow my guy to disrespect them. Be civilized, humane.

  173. Yure on August 9, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    Jealous of children? Come on… They need us more than adults do… I think a good partner would understand that.

    • Becca on November 3, 2018 at 1:07 am

      Sometimes the partner will use the child as an excuse not to be a decent partner.

      My last relationship ended with a guy who told me even though he had summer off that he couldn’t make special plans with me on a weekend because he had to get all of his errands done so all of his fun quality time went with daughter the week later. No Joke. He had the next week off. Was childfree that weekend.

      I told him I did not understand. He said we aren’t compatible then and I said I totally 100 percent agree.

      As far as I am can concerned you are a single parent you better show me you are darn capable of being a great parent and a great partner. You better be darn considerate of the sacrifices that will come along with your child.

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  176. Dont know what to do on November 13, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    I am currently in a relationship and my fiance had a 20 yr old and 24 yr old who does not help out, wont clean up, make messes for someone else to clean, room looks like a tornado went through it, just started working but would play video games all day, and sleep the rest of the day. Still will not pay a bill. My fiance makes sure she gets up extra early to make sure he gets to the bus stop for work. Mind you, this is only 5 min walk. She makes sure his lunch is made every day. She would make sure she got his hair cut when he wasnt working, paid his cellphone bill and put money in his pockets.. the oldest one is an alcoholic and she often bails out of jail and he doesnt pay her back and constantly needing money or needs her. When they both have money and jobs and girlfriends, u dont hear from them. She was in the hospital, she didnt hear from them..she was in jail for a.few days(wrongfully accused) they didnt ask about her..here I am cant get a lunch, all we do is argue about them not keeping the house clean or his room cleaned or even flushing the toilet. Despite how I feel and what I say she still puts those adult kids first and it is a strain on our almost 15 year relationship. I thought once they were grown it would be different but worse.

  177. Death Lord on December 8, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Most normal think being a parent requires sacrfice. This belief involves putting the family first, as the family is already established, the foreginer is late to the party and needs to be compatible or else there will be nothing but fights.

    “I love my husband more than I love my children.” The defense of this statement doesn’t stand with me, in fact, now I just feel less interested in single mothers. That is not challanging the auidence with a new, striking way of thinking, as if she was a lone intellectual facing perscution.

    That is just a mother who is trying to justfy going out more.

  178. kathleen paquin on December 11, 2018 at 7:37 am

    I was a single parent working two jobs ,left my daughter father when she was 4 month as he would had killed me and most likely her.When she was nine I was going to get married when I told her she flipped out hitting me sreaming.We lived together for a year he asked her If he could be her dad she never answered him but did everything to destroy our relationship she could and it worked.He eventually left.I was 22 by the way .I put us both in counseling she refused to talk.She continued to break up any relationship I had.By the time she finished high school I had serious back problems from working 16 hour shifts all my adult life.Never got a cent child support,I was to scared of him he kidnapped me and beat me many times.I just wanted him to stay away.Plus he was in jail several times once he almost killed his father.My daughter wouldn’t go to college or trade school unless I paid 100 precent.I couldn’t work more then I already was as I was going to the pain clinic every month by now.She moved out after trying to hit me and telling me she didn’t have to f—— listen to me anymore.All because I asked her what time she was coming home.I furnished her apt.brought her food several times and always was there if she needed me.By the time she was 23 she got married called me on mothers day and disowned me.A year later she had a son I wasn’t allowed to see two years later she left her husband because she said she could do better.A year or two later not really sure she had another son by 2016 she had 5 children got married again and I haven’t seen her for around 13 years.Out of the blue she calls me says she sorry ,but she has told stranger so many lies about me.How my mother raised her and I never worked and was on drugs.I saw this on her facebook but never said nothing as it was the only way I could see what my grand children looked like.She doesn’t know I know this I’ve been disabled for 5 years now.I don’t trust her at all.I love her but I don’t like her.I did get married around 6 years after she disowned me.But I’m in pain everyday of my life.My spinal cord is enlarged,I have 4 pinched nerves and two disc compression my spinal cord.Partial feeling in my feet and nerve damage.All of this by the time I was 49 years old from working all the double shifts and 2nd jobs to raise her.She went to private school for 12 years.Was it worth it putting your child first.This is what you get back.You would think now that she is grown 34 years old.Her 2nd husband was accepted by her first son.That she would understand that her life would have been better if I wasn’t forced to be a single parent all her life as she got involved with someone real quick after leaving her husband,but she doesn’t.She says I tried to force people on her.I don’t know where we stand and I’m unsure what I even want with her,I gave this child everything her kids don’t have much at all and she seems fine with that.

  179. Notspecialanymore on December 22, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Obviously my ex husband believes in this policy. He has chosen to not see our children on Christmas Day nor to spend any school holiday time with younger child in order to be with new Ukrainian girlfriend, who will be introduced to his family and friends and taken on holiday. This is a perfect example of putting partner ahead of children. I guess he wants to establish his relationship with her first. I have no choice but to accept it and according to this article, it is normal. I see it as the selfish behaviour of a midlife crisis and nobody cares about what he does or how it impacts others, except me, the now single mother.

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  181. […] Why single parents should put their kids second when dating – I meet most men that I date online. What do you look for when dating a man with kids? It’s very common for guys with kids to write in their eharmony.com profiles: “My kids come first,” […]

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